Having thought a lot about fostering as a career, one which is both vital to society and also fulfilling, you’ll probably turn to Google and be overwhelmed by the amount of choice. A bit like going into a strange supermarket and thinking, “So many brands. How do I decide?”
The answer is to choose the one that suits you best, which only you can know.
Search for whatever has the quality, size, location, reputation, durability or extra something, that is right for you. However attractive the packaging, what really matters is the ingredients.
On the surface, perhaps, not much. All local authorities and independent foster agencies must offer similar criteria. But at Safehouses we believe that the quality and the combination of services we provide for young people and their carers is special.
Safehouses Fostering is in a fairly unique position. Having been founded 21 years ago to provide a more family-centred, cohesive and stable environment for children in care – we are still going strong, and the founder, Louise is still head of the team.
The philosophy behind keeping Safehouses as a small company, is to create a sense of community rather than becoming an institution. Children, carer and staff know and support one another.
Come and visit us and you’ll see what we mean.
From top to bottom (or vice versa) we are available and offer guidance 24/7. A supervising social worker is always on duty.
In addition to the supervising social workers, two teachers are part of the Safehouses team. They work with the young people to help boost confidence and achievement. They liaise with and organise activities. Nowadays to have teaching in a foster care agency is unusual.
Our support workers are brilliant, The informality, fun and listening ear that they bring to the support care is much appreciated by the young people.
Safehouses has an excellent record for stability in our foster placements. This is an essential factor in recovery from childhood trauma.
All the young people with Safehouses are in school or college, and they maintain really excellent attendance records.
Safehouses is proud of its good reputation with local authority commissioners.
Safehouses organises activity days during school holidays, including: pantomimes, parties, sports days, craft workshops, treasure hunts, trips out, etc.
At Safehouses we really are a mix. Children, carers and staff talk to and learn from each other. The Carers’ Forum and discussion groups of young people, are essential in influencing what we do and how we move forward.
Getting the right match for young people with their carers is a priority. Young people’s future is at stake – so there’s not “heads on beds” outlook at Safehouses.
Safehouses provides a running programme of training courses for foster carers throughout the year. From this new carers will be supported to produce a competence based portfolio that is TSD (Training Support Development) recognised.
~ Safehouses training is CoramBaaf accredited and NVQ Level 2 or Level 3 can be accomplished via our training programme. (NVQ Level 2 = 4 GCSEs at A-C: Level 3 is the equivalent of 2 or more A levels).
~ We employ expert external trainers to deliver up-to-date and relevant courses. These include: CSE, Radicalisation, Drug Awareness, Safeguarding, First Aid, Recording Skills, Managing Challenging Behaviour and much more.
~ Every carer household has at least one member who has attended the Webster Stratton Programme, which runs over 6 or 12 weeks.
~ Our foster carers have also been trained externally in TCIF (Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Fostercarers.)
The First Aid course for young people is very popular and is delivered to all children, including the carers’ own children or grandchildren.
~ Where possible we allow for flexibility in the times of training courses, e.g. Skills to Foster takes place at the weekend to accommodate busy working lives. The Men in Fostering course is an evening course to enable those who work through the day to attend.