You may have many questions about fostering and have questions about the different people you may meet on your fostering journey:
Advocates can offer advice and support to a child or young person. The main purpose of a child advocate is to enable children to express their wishes and feelings. The aim of child advocacy is to encourage empowerment of children and uphold their human rights.
Guardians are appointed by the court to represent the rights and interests of children in cases that involve social services. Their role is to advise the court on what they think is best for the child.
Child’s Social Worker
Your foster child’s social worker represents the local authority in its role as “corporate parent”. They hold statutory case responsibility regarding planning and decision making for your foster child but do so in consultation and agreement with other professionals including their own management. Their main concern and priority are the welfare, safety and progress of your foster child.
This includes teachers, pastoral support, designated teachers for looked after children, virtual schools team, designated school safeguarding officers and educational psychologists. These professionals all work together as part of the wider team of professionals around the child with a focus on educational objectives and outcomes. This also includes ensuring that your foster child is in the best educational setting for them and has access to any additional support or resources as needed.
This includes both physical and mental health professionals. This could include doctors, dentists, opticians, consultants, specialists and therapists. Your foster child’s health care needs will be detailed in their Placement Plan (or Placement Agreement) and Medical Assessment. Your foster child will need your support in getting to and from appointments and you will likely need to be present during appointments to support your child and answer any questions for health staff.
An Independent Visitor (IV) is an adult volunteer who befriends and develops a long-term friendship with a young person in care. This can involve helping young people develop new interests, skills and hobbies or going on outings such as to the cinema, bowling or just a walk in the park. The volunteers are called ‘Independent Visitors’ because they are a truly ‘independent’ person outside the care system giving the young person continuity.
Supervising Social Workers (SSW)
SSWs are allocated to foster carers to offer guidance and support and also to ensure that foster children are receiving appropriate standards of care. Your SSW will talk to you about your foster child’s progress, the impact of fostering on your household, any support or information you may need, as well as your learning and development needs. They will meet with you monthly and speak to you regularly by phone or video.
Mosaic therapists undertake trauma-based assessments on all children placed in our care. These assessments provide recommendations on how to best address the immediate and long-term needs of your foster child including trauma recovery and parenting strategies. Our therapists also provide foster parents with clinical supervision and reflection and undertake direct work with children where agreed. You may also have involvement from therapist outside of Mosaic depending on the approach required for your foster child.
If your question wasn't answered here, please contact our friendly team who will be more than happy to help.
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Fostering a child or young person is one of the most important decisions you could make - and you will undoubtedly have a lot of questions - what better way to find out a bit more about it than giving our friendly helpful team a call to discuss the process - many of our team have been through the process themselves so can give you honest advice.