Over the years we have forged excellent links with our colleagues in Local Authorities across the country. Accordingly they refer children to us to see whether we have a suitable foster family. We have an experienced referrals team who deal with this suitability question (called matching) on a full time basis from our Head Office in Faversham. The level of referrals is significant and can be over 400 per month so there is a huge demand for our services.
We like to ensure that all our Children understand what Fostering is and feel comfortable with their Foster family. So as well as carefully matching the right family to each child, we provide a Children’s Welcome Guide to all our children when they first arrive and encourage our Foster Carers to go through the booklet with the children in their care, particularly the younger children.
This Guide helps children in care to understand what Fostering entails and what they can do and who they can talk to should they feel unhappy, uncomfortable, need help OR are happy and excited about something that they have achieved. Coupled with our Children’s Champion and our Foster Carers excellent support we seek to help all our children grow in confidence and happiness.
The children can range from the unborn, in the case of a Parent and Child placement, to that of a teenager coming up to his/her eighteenth birthday. They also come from a completely diverse background in terms of race, creed and culture. You may, as a foster carer, stipulate an age range and gender and this forms the basis of your official approval at our Panel.
Sadly many of our children have suffered neglect and/or abuse of one form or another and so our aim is to provide a warm, loving family home with a safe, successful, stable outcome for everyone involved. We are passionate about the outcomes for our children and always go the extra mile. Over 80% of our children are in long term stable placements which is testament to the initial matching and ongoing support from our staff, the Local Authority and independent professionals.
It is important for our foster carers to know the whole story of a child’s circumstances in order for them to offer the appropriate level of support and care. This includes everything that has gone well and is positive, as well as anything that is concerning.
Looking after someone else’s child is a wonderful achievement but can also be challenging at times, so we make sure the foster family is part of the entire team of professionals, sharing information and ideas to make a child feel happy and safe.
Some of our children have specific difficulties such as physical disability, learning difficulties or have experienced many placement moves before arriving at Next Step. Their stories are sometimes traumatic, sometimes upsetting, but always unique. We help rebuild childhoods, re-parenting the child if needed and managing their behaviours in appropriate ways; ensuring they receive the best possible care.
Childhoods are short, the challenges they face are huge, but the efforts we make at Next Step hopefully have a far reaching and lifelong effect on their self esteem and achievements throughout their lives.
Being part of our team means you are part of something really special; not everyone can do it, but for those who can, making a difference to a child offers a level of personal reward that is truly exceptional.
Contact us for a chat Who can foster?