A new support service is being launched in Cornwall to give greater support to foster carers and the children they look after. The new Specialist Fostering Support team is made up of social workers, family support workers, youth workers, family therapists and educational psychologists from Cornwall Council’s Together for Families.
The aim of the 10-strong team is to provide an unparalleled support network for carers and those in their care, liaising with enhanced social work teams in the east and west of Cornwall to deliver planned preventative and therapeutic support where it is most needed and at the right time.
Fostering Service Manager, Julie Goodwin, said: “Over the last few months we have undergone a process of change, which has been informed by our feedback from foster carers and internal experience. This reconfiguration centres on a renewed focus on targeted and early support to foster carers, children and young people, with a vision to improve placement stability and secure the best outcomes for Cornwall’s children in care.”
Trauma and abuse experienced by young people in their early lives can lead to challenging behaviours that can place additional stresses on their placement and relationship with carers. Working closely with wider support teams will allow the Specialist Fostering Support team to develop a deeper level of understanding of any potential issues, allowing for earlier intervention.
Referrals to the Specialist Fostering Support team will come from the council’s existing Fostering Supervisory teams and, where appropriate, the Placement Hub, with the most suitable support and intervention being decided upon based on every individual situation.
The wide skills and experience of the new team mean it will have the ability to work across all age ranges and situations to better equip foster carers to therapeutically parent children and young people who have experienced trauma.
In addition, the role of the Specialist Support team will be to enhance the training and development strategies for existing foster carers by providing regular group work and learning opportunities for them.
Cabinet Member for Children, Wellbeing and Public Health, Sally Hawken, added: “Our aim is not only to have the best support network in the country but to also have the best trained, skilled and informed foster carers to bring about the most positive change and eventual outcomes for all children and young people in care.”
The new Specialist Fostering Support team will launch activity dates for children and young people in care at key points throughout the year, as part of their combined role supporting both foster carers and those in their care.
For more information about fostering and fostering support with Cornwall Council, visit www.fosterincornwall.co.uk or call 01872 323 638.