Face To Face Support
FosterTalk offers locally based, independent Advisors to provide face to face support, advice advocacy and or mediation for foster families during difficult times such as allegations and complaints.
This is available through our Allegations Support Team (AST) which can be commissioned by your fostering service on your behalf. Some fostering services allow you to self-refer which means you can contact us direct to ask for support. If you are unsure whether you are authorised to self-refer please feel free to call us to discuss and we will advise you accordingly. FosterTalk provides a practical approach to independent support that delivers a flexible and responsive service. It’s a highly valued service for foster carers, so if you have had an allegation or complaint made against you, and would like advice and support during the process, call FosterTalk on 0121 758 5013 and speak to one of our fostering advisors. Watch the videos below to find out more about how the service supports foster carers.
Research into the impact of allegations on foster carers
Research into the Impact of Allegations on Foster Carers, carried out by the Rees Centre at Oxford University on behalf of FosterTalk, published on 7th July 2016, found that The main impact on carers and their families of allegations closed as unproven was emotional and financial. Interviews suggested that emotional distress, which was often linked with subsequent health and relationship issues, partly related to the severity of the allegation, ……. but equally by the ensuing treatment. Lack of information about the allegation itself, the investigation process and the support to which they were entitled led to confusion, destruction of confidence and dismay.(G. Plumridge and J.Sebba, July 2016) A pdf will be released on the 8th July. At FosterTalk we believe that providing foster carers and their families with the best possible support during these difficult times makes the process clearer and more bearable for everyone involved. One foster carer in the study described her face to face support like this:
“I recommend to everyone that they have them. Even if they don’t think they need them because it’s just the support that’s there. You go in meetings and you think, did they say this, did they say, that, well, she knows because she’s writing it down. She’s not emotional, she’s detached from it, so she gets the facts right, the facts down and then you’ve got them then which is good, it really is good.”
Foster carer from an independent fostering service
The Allegations Support Team (AST)
What support can the AST Advisor give me?
- General advice about the allegations and panel process
- Give emotional support as required
- Advisors will work on a model of empowering carers to express views, raise question and encouragement to be proactive in their situation
- Non-adversarial, advocacy based support
- Be a communication link between foster carers and their fostering agency (only if foster carer requires this)
- Be non-judgmental
- Be impartial in the advice they give
- Be confidential (subject to the usual safeguarding boundaries)
- Will not tell the foster carer what to do but will point out objectively advantages and disadvantage of a course of action to allow foster carers to make their own decisions from an informed perspective
- Spend time prior to a meeting to help foster carer prepare for the meeting
- Attend meeting (such as annual review and panel)
- Help with written responses to reports
- Help to explore what outcome they are hoping to achieve on how realistic the foster carers desired outcome are
What is outside of the AST Advisor role?
- Attend meetings in the foster carer’s absence
- Pass on information for the agency to the foster carer
- Actively support a complaint
- Attend meetings such as LAC Reviews, Supervision meetings or meetings seen as day to day normal business
- Unless exceptional circumstances speak for a foster carer in a meeting, and then only with chair approval
To read more about how our AST service supports foster carers, download our guide here!