Tracey Coull guest column: Supporting foster carers

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All fostering is about helping children to grow and develop, and frequently to support them in overcoming a devastating start in life.

Foster carers who care for children aged 11 and over know only too well, that many have experienced traumatic early lives which can leave them suffering emotionally and developmentally.

Fostering is about healing the damage through secure and accepting family life.

In recent years the idea of therapeutic foster care has been given a lot of attention.

Foster carers are not alone in thinking that often these young people need some kind of extra help on top of what their foster family can offer; a kind of specialist treatment. Of course Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are able to provide this for some children, and do support many foster carers by providing consultation and guidance.

Nottinghamshire County Council has been developing a new kind of therapeutic support to children and foster carers which involves:

Social workers trained in attachment-focused ways of communicating with children

Foster carers trained in the thinking and ‘language’ behind these ways of parenting

Social workers undertaking direct therapeutic work with the foster child and foster carer together in the foster carer’s home

We know that foster children who are able to come to terms with their early life experiences do go on to live happy, secure and successful lives. Many do, but many still don’t.

We currently have a shortage of carers for children aged 11 plus - providing better help and support to foster children and foster carers does improve the chances of success and the kind of therapeutic support we are developing in Nottinghamshire could be an important advance in helping children ‘feel better’ and ‘grow stronger’ into successful adults.

If you would like to find out more about becoming an 11 plus carer where you would receive £200 per week retainer which amounts to £10,400 per annum irrespective of a child being placed with you and once a child is placed, you will continue to receive this weekly fee in addition to child related fostering allowances, please contact the fostering recruitment team on 0845 301 8899 or visit job opportunities at