21 August 2023

Safehouses Fostering and Adoption Support in Manchester – top tips and advice from your local agency

Safehouses Fostering and Adoption Support in Manchester – top tips and advice from your local agency

Overview: A look at the support available for foster carers in Manchester and surrounding areas and differences between adoption and fostering to inform your fostering journey. Answering the question: how much do you get a week for fostering in Manchester? Plus, how Safehouses supports fostering families.

We’ve been operating in the Greater Manchester and Oldham region for over two decades, so we’re well placed to help you find out about fostering support in Manchester. In that time, we’ve helped foster carers to start their journeys and welcomed dozens of foster carers who have transferred into the area too. Thousands of children across the UK need a safe and stable environment to call home, the good news is there is lots of support available in Manchester and nearby areas for foster carers who want to help. At Safehouses, we have a strong community of foster carers who are able to share their experience and advice with new carers.

Fostering/adoption Manchester – what’s the difference?

Fostering and adoption sometimes get confused, particularly in the case of long-term foster care. As a foster parent, you will care for the child in your home. In the case of long-term fostering, your foster child may even stay with you until adulthood. The most significant difference between fostering and adoption is a legal distinction. As a foster carer, the local authority and the child’s birth parents will remain legally responsible. You will also receive financial help through fostering allowance and practical support like training for your role.

As an adoptive parent, you assume full financial and legal responsibility for a child when they are adopted into your family. You may be entitled to means-tested help as an adoptive parent. However, you wouldn’t receive fostering allowance or have access to the same on-call support network. One important similarity is the difference you can make to a child’s life. Whether you choose to adopt or foster, you can form lifelong bonds with the children in your care.

What support is available for foster carers in Manchester?

At Safehouses, we have a simple ambition: we want every foster care journey to be happy. To achieve this, we talk and listen to our foster carers and offer relevant support when and where it’s needed. From the first time you contact us to explore if fostering is right for you, we’ll support you through every step of the fostering process. We help our foster carers to establish and grow meaningful careers and relationships.

Your foster care support team

We believe the stronger the support system, the better the outcome for the child. As a Safehouses foster carer, you will have access to the following:

  • A supervising social worker, allocated to you after our first visit to your home or meeting at our office. They provide the reassurance of supervision, monthly check-ins and ongoing support.
  • A dedicated support worker who will visit you monthly following approval and be on hand for additional support if required.
  • A carer colleague mentor who has been through the same processes and challenges and who can share their own experiences, advice and support.
  • 24/7 help and advice with emergency out-of-hours service. Our team cover the telephones, so whoever you speak to will know you and your foster family’s circumstances.
  • A local office with facilities and staff to help things run smoothly. Our office team is based in our headquarters in Oldham. Here there are also training rooms and social areas for carers, birth families and children.
  • Educational support for children and young people such as additional help with exam preparation. Or get support with finding school places and EHCP(education and healthcare plan) processes.
  • Training starts pre-application and continues with our carer induction courses, enabling you to understand the life experiences of the children and young people you care for, giving you the skills and knowledge to meet their needs. There’s continuous opportunities for post-approval training so you can be confident and develop in your role.
  • Regular carers’ drop-in support groups give foster carers a chance to support and learn from one another. There are regular get togethers for the whole Safehouses family, plus specialist informal groups such as men in fostering and fostering through the menopause.
  • Regular activities for foster families from treasure hunts to barbecues and craft days. We will help you to widen your support network with our welcoming fostering community. A calendar of activities and trips also allows children to meet and play with other cared-for children. You can see some things the Safehouses family has been up to in participation.
  • Qualified psychotherapist support for when foster children in your care need additional support. We use the PACE (playfulness, acceptance, curiosity, empathy) approach to help children and young people to feel safe.

Top tips and advice from 3 Safehouses fostering experts

We asked some in-the-know experts for their tips and advice for potential foster carers who want to make the most of the help and support available for fostering in Manchester.

Wayne Brown, Safehouses Services Manager

“My number one tip would be if you have a question about anything at any point to ask any member of the team. There are no silly questions. Whether it’s myself, one of the administration team, your support worker or mentor – we all support one another. We have a simple formula here at Safehouses that if we say we’re going to do something we do it. Everyone looks after and supports one another and if there’s ever something we can’t tell you on the spot, you can be sure we’ll find it out and come back to you with the information. We want to help and support you every step of the way.”

Safehouses Foster Carer and Mentor

“Your mentor can help you with the many questions which can crop up in day-to-day life as a foster carer, such as:

  • What will my panel interview be like?
  • How can I prepare for referrals?
  • Do I pay tax?
  • How do I request respite?
  • How do I deal with PEP meetings what is a LAC review ?

“Mentors can also help with social and emotional matters that are an inevitable part of caring for children and young people in your home. Of course, your supervising social worker will have all the answers for you. But sometimes it helps to have the perspective of someone who has been through the challenges themselves.”

“As a new foster carer, I found managing my own emotional welfare difficult. My biggest tip for overcoming this would be to seek advice from other foster carers who have been in a similar position. Your supervising social worker can help you with this. Always remember, you must look after yourself first so that you can then support your child or young person. It’s like when you’re listening to the safety briefing on a flight. In case of an emergency, please secure your own oxygen mask first!”

Safehouses Foster Carer on Training with us

“Completing the training with Safehouses made me feel like I have gained an insight into how to understand and help the child I am looking after. My advice is to complete the training to be as equipped as you can. You will feel more confident and prepared.”

“What really stands out for me about the training available at Safehouses is the range of other people’s knowledge that’s available for you to tap into. From PACE training to tax advice and first aid training to fostering through the menopause. It all helps you to feel better equipped and well prepared to overcome the challenges of the role.

“You will feel more confident to deal with issues if you attend all the training first. On top of that, you’ll usually attend training alongside other foster carers. You will meet others in your position who you can gain insight and advice from. If it takes a village to raise a child, meet the people in your Safehouses village!”

How much do you get a week for fostering in Manchester?

Our commitment to paying our foster carers competitive rates of pay is an integral part of our support and benefits package. We want you to be able to focus on helping the children in your care to grow and thrive. As a foster carer with Safehouses, you can expect to receive a fostering allowance upwards of £413 per week per child, usually tax-free. You can find more details on our payment and benefits page. Or if you have a specific query, we encourage you to contact our enquiries team, who will be happy to help.

Want to learn more about fostering support in Manchester?

To get a feel for what it’s like being a foster carer in Manchester and surrounding areas with Safehouses, we recommend you read and watch the real-life stories in meet our foster families. Attending one of our informal fostering events is another great way to find out about the support on offer for your fostering journey. Got a burning question? Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!