Support skills development and training for foster carers
We offer a wide range of support to our carers to help them foster. We understand that fostering a child can be demanding and we want to make sure that carers feel valued and supported in their role.
Social work support and supervision
If you are approved as a foster carer, you will get a supervising social worker from the fostering team. They will regularly meet you to discuss the child or children and any issues that may be of concern.
The child will also have a social worker. These social workers are available to help and support you through any problems and to make sure you are giving the best care to the child.
Our children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) can also offer you support.
We have a range of support groups that meet regularly and are a good way to meet other foster carers. These include support groups for:
- Mainstream/ General Support Group
- Support for New Foster Carers
- Male Foster Carer Support Group
- Support Group for Carers of Teenagers and Staying Put Carers
- Support Group for Connected Carers and Temporary Approved Carers (reg 24)
Fostering out-of-hours support line service
This out-of-hours advice line is covered by a fostering supervising social worker who can provide advice over the phone.
Monday to Friday, 5:30pm–11pm
Weekends and Bank Holidays, 10am–10pm
If you have an emergency that outside of these hours, contact our emergency duty social worker for support.
Support from other foster carers
Lewisham foster carers benefit from receiving support from their fellow foster carers. There is Lewisham Carers Supporting Carers and a mentoring scheme, where new carers are matched with experienced ones. Foster carers also make up the Fostering Advisory Board (FAB), where foster carers are representatives in meetings with the Lewisham Fostering Team.
Membership of fostering network
After you have been approved, we will pay for your membership of the national association, the Fostering Network, which offers regular newsletters and independent advice and support to foster carers across the country.
Contact with a child’s family
Many of the children in foster care will continue to have regular contact with their own families, who remain an essential part of their lives. Foster carers need to be able to positively support this. We offer our foster carers support and guidance to do this.
You will get a weekly tax-free allowance of up to £650. The amount depends on the child or young person’s age. This allowance covers the full cost of caring for the child. You should not rely on the money as an income and you will need to show that you have other means to support yourself financially. These payments do not affect any benefits you may get.
You will also receive up to two weeks’ break, known as respite allowance, when you care for a child continuously for 12 months.
After you apply, you must go to a three-day fostering preparation course as part of the assessment process. The course is designed to:
introduce you to what fostering involves
help you decide if fostering is right for you and your family.
When you’ve been approved as a foster carer, you will need to go to regular training. We offer our carers a robust training package based on therapeutic parenting and trauma-informed practice. Each carer has a Personalised Development Plan, that is tailored to their learning needs and is developed with them.