Support & Development

Our most important objective is developing the capability of our Foster Families.

Allowances

Strong Relationships

Our social work team and our directors are available to you by telephone 24 hours a day every day. We even have a fallback service that automatically redirects your call if your social worker is busy. Your call gets answered by one of us. We also make many home visits combining regular and at request visits to help you through difficulties and decision points.

We all care about you, your family and the children you are looking after. Thats our service to you.

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Comprehensive Training

Our Training programme is a mix of internal and external trainers and online courses. The programme is redesigned every year with a combination of fixed elements and specialist training  based on carers and placement needs in the agency.

We deliver training in a variety of ways from classroom, to workshop and practical styles to make it interesting and valuable.

We even pay you to attend!

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Appreciation & Encouragement

We all need to be recognised when we do things that are benefiting others. In foster care that is more important than in most occupations. We identify the great work of foster carers every week and acknowledge that with regular recognition.  Carers who develop are financially rewarded for attendance and the level of engagement demonstrated.

When we invite children to our events we invite your whole family.

What Our Carers Are Saying

Don’t just take it from us, let our carers do the talking!

“When I call late at night after the kids are asleep, I know Lisa has also had a hard day at work already. She never makes me feel like that though. In fact, she always asks me how I am when I call and she really wants to know the answer.  “

Karen

“Even the office team are really there for me. I call in to talk about administration or statutory checks with the office team. They always ask about my kids and the foster children and how they are doing.”

Luke

“Support is not just about the hard times, sometimes its just a smiling face or a little joke that makes your day better.  There’s plenty of that here and that helps make the difficult converstaions easier to get through.”

Pedro

Typical Annual Training Programme

Fostering Agency London

Safeguarding

Annual safeguarding training helps you and your family members provide a safe place for foster children and keeps you safe from allegations.

First Aid

All carers need to complete this course on First Aid for children when they are first approved and every three years after that.

Induction Courses

This is a suite of five separate courses specially designed for new carers covering Synergy procedures and basic requirements for foster carers.

On Line Training

Most of our generic courses are also available online so you can study them at home. This helps some carers who have work commitments. We even pay you training allowance for online courses.

Other Training Courses Include

Managing Difficult Behaviour

Using your examples we work through strategies and actions you can take to turn these events into opprtunities to improve behaviour.

Internet and Social Media

Some help to understand the terms children use on the internet, different programmes and some of the dangers and how to limit access to dangerous sites in your home.

Eating Disorders

Helping to understand the underlying issues that bring children and young people to use food as a weapon and how to encourage change to reach a healthy outcome

Autism

What is Autism and how might it affect your young person. What can you do to help them? How can you structure their day to minimise the impact of this on the chances of positive outcomes.

Drug Awareness

Understanding the tyopes of drugs and the symptoms to look out for. How to approach drug related issues and help young people to understand the dangers

Addressing Sexual Abuse

Working with the Therpists. Dealing with secondary trauma and disclosures that often come cases like this. Increased safeguarding without over bearing.

Young Parents

Providing a safe placement for Young Parents and their children requires extra  skills. Keeping baby safe while not interfering with the young parent’s development is a balance

Impact of Secondary Trauma

Often young people mask the impacts of previous trauma, sometimes for years. What should you do if it starts to come out in older children ?

Support Groups

Carers meet in groups on a regular basis both with and without Synergy involvement. These groups involve our Social Workers and take the form of discussion about various aspects of fostering. This allows carers to have their issues discussed with other carers who offer help and advice. There are also social support groups where we sponsor a trip to a local restaurant to allow carers to talk informally in relaxed surroundings.

Frequently Asked Questions About Training & Development

Press the blue bars to see the answers

How much training do I need to do each year?

You will need to complete the compulsory courses each year on safeguarding and you will need to complete your first aid training every three years. After that we expect you to choose at least five courses each year from our programme to update your skills.

What training do you give to beginners?

During your assessment we will establish what your development needs might be. These will be addressed as part of your first training development programme. In addition to your Skills To Foster course, you will be asked to join us for a three day induction course to learn about all the detailed aspects of fostering. During your first year you will complete the Training Stanards Development (TSD) agency programme which will lead you to complete your induction training.

Can I decide what training I do?

You are welcome to attend any training courses where we have enough space for you. We have a booking system to help you with that. Once a year you will be given the opportunity to help decide which courses we run the following year. The courses that most carers ask for will be the ones we provide soonest.

Will my family also get training and development opportunities?

Yes your immediate family can join in with most of the training events if it is age approriate. We run special courses and events for your own children to help with the impact of fostering on them. This is important to help them understand some of the things they can do to help and how they might need help themselves sometimes.

What other forms of development are there besides group activities?

Fostering is an activity that takes place continuously. There are opportunities to learn and develop at every moment. Often the most valuable development takes place on reflection. We encourage you to discuss every aspect of fostering with your supervising social worker, esecially when you first start fostering. This can be informally in your home, over the telephone, in our office or meeting in a relaxed atmosphere like a cafe or public place.

Your supervising social worker’s role is principally to develop and coach you and your family to foster children and young people to the best of your ability.

Some Benefits of Fostering

The decision to foster is different for each family or person considering this as a future lifestyle. Your reasons will be personal to you. Bear in mind that most people tell us that money is not enough and its the other less clear benefits that attracted them to this decision. Here are some reasons people have told us about but there are many more.

Personal Development

Foster carers and their families often report how their family has grown in strength as a result of the experiences fostering brings. Their children learn more about other chiildren’s lives and how to give good friendship and support to other people.

Good Feelings and Special Achievements

Providing a child or young person with the opportunity to achieve something however small that they would not otherwise have done is a special feeling. Knowing that you might be the only reliable person in a young person’s life. Feeling trusted and privilaged to be sharing that young person’s life however briefly is priceless relationship.

Emotional Resilience

We could all do with developing our emotional resilience in the modern world where it is tested so often. Fostering is a family activity that has real purpose and provides a focus for families that can help them deal with other situations they might face in a different way. Children learn through doing and fostering will help them see how resilience pays.

Benefits, Allowances and Rewards

 

We know that most Foster Carers do not do this for the money, but equally they would probably not be able to do it without! Our allowances are paid weekly in arrears directly into your bank account and we send you a breakdown of your payment. No invoicing, no fuss and no waiting.

In addition to the allowance which is paid to cover the child costs we also pay a reward element which is paid based on the level of skills and capability you have reached in the agency. This is reviewed annually. You will also be entitled to claim expenses for certain activities and you will be paid each time you attend training and complete a brief learning report.

Due to the socially positive nature of this occupation there are significant tax benefits to Foster Carers in the form of enhanced tax allowances. Typically foster carers do not pay tax on the first £20000 of their allowances. There is more detail at this HMRC webpage.

Allowance

Covers the cost of caring for children

eg food, clothes, gifts, hobbies, mobile phone, savings

Complex Allowance

Additional allowance for supporting children with complex needs like significant trauma from sexual or physical abuse, alcoholism, drug taking or other complexities.

Reward Element

Paid to carer when a child is in placement. Paid based on foster carer engagement with Synergy activities and your role as a foster carer.

Solo Placements

Some children need to be the only child in placement. If a foster carer has more than one room available the rate for this is paid at 150% of the effective rate to compensate for the empty room required in your home.

Remand Placements

These have an additional 50% allowance to compensate for the restrictive arrangements that might be required to support the young person such as a curfew or tag meaning the young person must remain at home continually.

Young Parents Allowance

Foster carers are paid an allowance for both the parent and their child which is typically equivalent to two mainstream placements.

Typical Carer Payment - One Child

Over a year the typical foster family looking after one child will receive over £25k per year

Typical Carer Payments - Two Children

A foster family of a typical sibling group of two will receive over £40k per year in allowances and rewards

Typical Carer Payment - Complex Child

Typically a foster family looking after a complex child will receive over £28k per year

Training Allowance

Attending training and completing a short report about what you have learned will earn you a training reward.

Respite Payments

Sometimes it is in the best interests of the child for foster carers to have respite where the child stays at another place giving you a break. During these times we pay you a 50% allowance to recognise the need to keep the room available for the young person to return.

Expenses

We pay reasonable expenses for travelling to and from events on behalf of the agency.

Holiday Allowance

You will be able to claim a holiday allowance for each foster child during the year. Synergy will give foster carers up to £250 per child towards the cost of activities or holidays.

Refreshments

We provide refreshments and lunch at our training, group meetings and support groups. We believe in nurturing our foster families and especially our carers!

Annual Events

Synergy Fostering hold events for our foster families to celebrate the hard work they have done throughout the year. In previous years we have held events at the Oxo Tower and other hotel venues in London. Our annual summer evnt is well attended and everyone enjoys the day.

Don't Be Shy

If we didn’t answer all of your questions, feel free to drop us a line anytime.
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