If you are already fostering you will be aware that fostering children and young people can be both challenging and rewarding, and FosterTalk believes that all foster carers should have access to effective support networks and resources to help them in their fostering role.
That’s why FosterTalk has developed the most comprehensive independent support package available to foster carers today. FosterTalk offers confidential, impartial advice, support and guidance to foster carers across the UK through our FosterTalk Membership package, our acclaimed Allegations Support Team (AST) our new AST PLUS service and a comprehensive training programme including our new Journey to Foster preparation course and post approval training for foster carers and staff, enabling fostering services to offer up to date and relevant training to their foster carers and staff.
Our aim is to make a real difference to the lives of foster carers, which in turn helps them to make a difference to the lives of looked after children. We understand that fostering involves everybody in the household – not just the main carer – so we believe it’s only right that our great range of benefits extend to the entire foster carer household.
We offer the following membership packages:
- Full or Retired membership for approved foster carers
- Pre-Approval Membership for prospective foster carers
- Special Guardians Membership
- Organisational Membership for fostering services staff
Fostering Services – are you looking to commission the most comprehensive, independent support services for your foster carers and employees?
Choose FosterTalk if you want a partner who will support your foster carers and employees 24-hours a day, while working with you to improve outcomes for everyone.
FosterTalk membership packages are available individually or by group subscriptions through Local Authorities and Independent Fostering Agencies.
In addition to our comprehensive membership packages, FosterTalk offers a range of additional services, including face to face support to foster carers during allegations or serious complaints through our Allegations Support Team (AST) and independent support to fostering organisations through our AST PLUS Service. We also offer a wide range of training courses and regularly hold Focus Days and other events. See below for more information.
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 other serious matters such as standards of care concerns. Face to face support is also available to resolve disputes between fostering services and foster carers and with making a representation against a panel or review recommendation.
This is available to foster carers, whether or not they are members of FosterTalk, through our Allegations Support Team (AST) and can be commissioned by the fostering service or a contract or spot purchase basis.
Foster carers referred to AST for face to face support will be allocated an independent fostering advisor to support them. They will be able to offer support in the following ways:
- Provide general advice about the allegations and panel process
- Provide 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 meetings with you (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 outcomes are
- Attending meetings in the foster carer’s absence
- Passing on information for the agency to the foster carer
- Attending meetings such as LAC Reviews, Supervision meetings or meeting seen as day to day normal business
- Unless exceptional circumstance speak for a foster carer in a meeting, and then only with chair approval
If you are interested in becoming a AST Advisor, please read more here.
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 are a fostering service manager who would like to make a referral for one of your foster carers, or a foster carer who has 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, or complete the referral form below.
Note: some fostering services allow foster carers to self-refer which means you can contact us directly 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.
To read more about how our AST service supports foster carers, click here to download our guide.
Managing services with limited resources can be a challenge for any fostering organisation, no matter how big or small. Pressures on social work time, larger caseloads, out of area placements, greater travelling distances, all add to the costs of running an efficient fostering service.
FosterTalk’s unique AST PLUS service has been developed to provide fostering organisations with choices around how they best use their resources.
Fostering services are able to utilise AST PLUS to cover out of area visits nationwide, reducing costs of mileage and overnight stays for employees and also affording staff priceless time in the office.
Examples of what AST PLUS can be used for include:
- Statutory visits to foster carers and children placed out of county
- Assisting with your preparation for Ofsted inspections – some of the IFA’s we work with have achieved “Outstanding”
- Carrying out Independent reviews of foster carer households
- Carrying out second opinion visits on fostering assessments
- Mentoring foster carers
- Providing specialist behaviour management support to foster carers,
- And much more!
FosterTalk is happy to discuss your individual requirements and provide competitive costings for our service.
- Experienced and qualified Independent Social Worker, with fostering background and knowledge of all fostering legislation – all compliance checked, and subject to FosterTalk’s internal quality assurance and consultation processes
- Save on Recruitment fees for temporary posts – save on the expense of recruiting for temporary posts
- Nationwide coverage – our advisors are matched to your geographic requirement
- Bespoke – tailor the service to your exact needs
- Remove uncertainty – a readily available workforce is on hand, all of whom are highly trained, qualified and experienced with a proven track record of providing excellent results.
- Costs negotiated and agreed upfront.
Foster Carer Membership Benefits
- Foster Carers Legal Advice Service
- Foster Carers Legal Expenses Insurance
- Arrest and Interview Assistance
- Foster Carer Accountancy and Tax Advice
- Foster Carers Counselling Helpline
- Foster Carers Education Advisory Service
- Fostering Advice Helpline
- Foster Carers Medical and First Aid Helpline
- FosterTalk Member Discounts
- FosterTalk Magazine
- FosterTalk Members Guide
Comprehensive Legal Protection Insurance– covering you, your partner and extended family members for legal costs in connection with your role as a foster carer and provides specialist solicitor(s), in the event of:
- Arrest & Interview under caution
- Defence against Criminal prosecution
- Defence against Civil claims
- Legal assistance to represent your case against a recommendation to the barred list (DBS).
You will also have access to a 24 hour legal helpline and continue to receive a complimentary copy of the FosterTalk quarterly magazine.
Pre-approval membership aims to support prospective foster carers through the assessment process to answer important questions they may have around their new vocation and encourage them to complete the process until approval.
With FosterTalk’s pre-approval membership, prospective foster carers can access unlimited professional independent advice, information and support during the assessment and training process. Prospective foster carers will be able to speak confidentially to FosterTalk advisors and can use the services as often as they need to.
Once approved, pre-approval memberships will be extended to include full legal expenses insurance cover for carer 1 and carer 2, the carer’s birth children and parents as well as any dependent members of the fostering household.
- General fostering advice helpline
- 24-hour legal advice helpline
- Accountancy and tax advice
- 24-hour counselling helpline
- Personal finance advice helpline
- Quarterly magazine
- Thousands of high street discounts
- Education advisory service
- 24-hour medical and first aid helpline
- See Pre-Approval Leaflet for more information
If you’ve recently become a Special Guardian, or if you’re considering it, it is worth understanding that special guardians can face the same types of issues and challenges as foster carers.
The FosterTalk SGO membership provides a range of specialist support services to support Special Guardians with information and advice around Special Guardianship Orders, including advice and support on the practicalities and legal framework surrounding SGO’s.
Your membership will include:
- Legal support with allegations and legal cover for a challenge to the discharge of the SGO.
- Legal Insurance to challenge DBS Referrals – Legal insurance will support an appeal if an allegation is made with a referral to DBS.
- Legal Insurance against Civil Claims – If a civil action is taken out relating to the child, this will be covered with legal insurance.
FosterTalk SGO Membership is available for fostering services to purchase on behalf of individuals taking on a Special Guardianship Order, or it is available for you to sign up as an individual. Either way, you will have access to the most up to date information and advice relating to Special Guardianships.
FosterTalk’s Special Guardians Membership Includes:
- 24 hour Legal Helpline
- Legal Expenses Insurance
- Tax & Personal Finance Advice– Including; Tax, Benefits & National Insurance Advice & a Self-Assessment Service.
- FosterTalk Member Discounts– we provide access to thousands of special offers on lifestyle products and services
- FosterTalk Communications– Including; FosterTalk E-Newsletter, Fostering News Round-Up and Regular Fostering & FosterTalk Updates
- 24 hour Counselling Helpline
- 24 hour Medical & First Aid Helpline
- Education Advisory Service
- Special Guardianship Advice
- See our information leaflet to find out more
FosterTalk has been working in partnership with fostering services throughout the UK for over 15 years and we understand the challenges facing organisations and individuals in their task of supporting foster carers and looked after children.
FosterTalk memberships provide the most comprehensive support packages available to foster carers, fostering services and their staff, at a competitive price, improving the recruitment and retention of key staff and foster carers alike.
What Organisational membership provides
Practice advice and guidance Organisational staff members can access good practice guidance on all aspects of fostering, including:
- assessments, approvals and reviews
- staying put
- delegated authority
- regulation, legislation and National Minimum Standards
- allegations handling and supporting foster carers during allegations
Our practice advice and guidance service is available between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday and can be accessed via telephone and email.
- Members can access our team of legal advisers to discuss any legal or legal related matters 24 hours a day/7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- Members will have round the clock access to our team of qualified counsellors or can offer telephone support on personal and stress related matters 24 hours a day/7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- Members can access over 4,500 offers on lifestyle products and services through our partners You at Work.
FosterTalk magazine and e-newsletters
- Members will have access to our quarterly fostering magazine full of hot topics and useful information covering a range of fostering related matters. We also publish regular e-newsletters with fostering related news and updates.
Downloadable information leaflets
- Members will have access to pdf files on key topics such as supporting foster carers during allegations, supervision and support, tax and benefits
Preferential rates for training on key topics
Members will benefit from reduced rates for staff and foster carer training on key topics including:
- supporting foster carers during allegations -staff training
- managing allegations -foster carer training
- Supervision skills for supervising social workers
Preferential rates for attendance at FosterTalk events and fostering focus days FosterTalk hosts many events around the UK to support foster carers and fostering service workers in a range of topics including foster carer finances, allegations and tax and tax and benefits/financial planning.
For more information about FosterTalk’s Training & Events please click here.