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Fostering

Open your heart and home

We need existing and new foster carers to work with our fostering team

Fostering isn’t just a career, it’s a way of life and one that involves changing children’s lives forever. Foster carers provide children with a start in life that they may not have had.

Our fostering team is on the lookout for new people to join them and help provide that loving home that children need. If you join our fostering team you will receive high levels of training and excellent support  as well as a competitive fee structure.

You you could receive up to £454 per child per week as a foster carer for Barking and Dagenham Council.

We ensure that children in care are not disrupted too much by placing them with carers who live close by, which allows the children to stay at their school and be near to familiar surroundings. Foster carers come from all backgrounds and it doesn’t matter if you’re single, in a relationship or married..

As a foster carer you will have an important role in helping a child (or children) to understand what is happening to them and provide love and stability at a difficult time in their lives.

Read our fostering booklet for more information.

Fostering booklet (PDF, 1.67 MB)

Enquire about becoming a foster carer

Support for foster carers

We appreciate that fostering can be a demanding task and are committed to providing our foster carers with the support that they need. In total we provide 84 days of training, including neglect, abuse and finance training.

Our fostering service also includes:

  • talking to our current carers and redesigning our support services to ensure they are what carers want
  • working toward all foster carers obtaining a nationally recognised NVQ qualification in childcare
  • once approved, all foster carers are allocated a dedicated fostering social worker to support carers and to help them identify their learning needs

As part of a team we welcome ideas for improving support and training from foster carers.

Payments

Whilst money is not everything, we are committed to ensuring that our foster carers are paid enough to cover the costs involved in looking after a child. The amount paid to each foster carer is calculated on an individual basis according to the age of the child.

My foster family

Every foster family is different

Could you open your heart and home to help improve outcomes for local foster children? Three of Barking and Dagenham’s foster carers share the stories behind their foster families and reveal what it’s like to be a foster carer in this London borough.

Elizabeth’s fostering story

Elizabeth is one of Barking and Dagenham’s most experienced and skilled foster carers and has been fostering with the council since 2009. Most recently she was asked to become a Hub Home Carer as part of the Mockingbird Family Modelwhich launched in 2017.

A Hub Home Carer provides support for a number of carers in close proximity to their home, including planned or emergency respite care, 24 hours seven days a week.

Javid’s fostering story

In 2006, Javid’s life one went from one extreme to the other. After a lot of persuasion from his wife, Javid was convinced to take the plunge and quit his city job working in finance to applying to become a foster carer. Since he made that switch over 10 years ago, he hasn’t looked back.

Joely’s fostering story

Joely has been a foster carer for Barking and Dagenham since 2015 and is one of the youngest carers in the area. Joely was training to become a teacher when she fell pregnant with her first child, so she put her studies on hold and began working in nurseries and children’s centres as these roles enabled more work-life balance so she could spend more time with her son.

After seeing fostering advertised around the borough, she was tempted to take the plunge and apply – and now she looks after children at her home instead of going to a place of work.

Types of foster carers

There are several types of foster cares. Here is a summary of the type of fostering that you can be approved for with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Long term placements

Providing placements for children, young people or sibling groups on a long term/permanent fostering basis, usually for the remainder of their minority.

Mockingbird Family Model

Providing placements for children, young people or sibling groups on a long term/permanent fostering basis, with a foster carer who is part of a wider group of carers, who will support each other in a family style planned, structured format.

Bridging placements

Generally forms part of a longer-term plan for a child or young person. Foster carers work with the children or young people to prepare them for joining adoptive or long term fostering families or moving to (semi-) independent living arrangements.

Assessment placements

usually last up to three months during which a detailed assessment is made of the needs of the child and specific support services they require.

Short term placements

Foster carers work with the child and their family for up to six weeks after which the child will return home or move on.

Private fostering

An arrangement a parent makes for their child to live with someone who is not a close relative or guardian, for longer than 28 days.

Emergency placements

Unforeseen emergency placements for individual children or sibling groups, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Parent and child placements

Placements for mothers and/or fathers and their child. Foster carers can provide guidance to parents and help them develop parenting skills.

Solo placements

A higher level of support, supervision and care for children and young people whose needs are very specific.

Remand foster carers

Looking after young offenders on a short-term basis, sometimes just overnight. Placements can be made with very little notice, maybe on the same day. Placements may be made on a more planned basis, for example for young people leaving custody.

Short break foster care

Very short term care for disabled children in order to help support a family. This may mean looking after a child, or sibling group for anything from a couple of days, weekends, to a week or two at a time.

Mockingbird fostering

The Mockingbird Family Model (MFM) is an alternative way of providing foster care.

It involves foster carers being part of a group with other foster carers who are described as satellite foster homes; they are supported by a central hub home which provides resources and support to the satellite homes.

The hub home and the satellite homes are supported by a fostering service which provides someone to act as a liaison worker.

Fostering Mockingbird Hub

How the hub home is chosen

The hub home’s carer needs to be an experienced and skilled foster carer with the motivation to build a community. Hub carers are trained by specially accredited Mockingbird trainers from The Fostering Network. The hub home is required to have two bedrooms available specifically for the children and young people in their hub.

Satellite carers are invited to join a hub; referrals are taken from fostering social workers as well as children’s social workers who first must discuss the concept of the model with carers. Satellite carers will usually live relatively near to their hub home and must be committed to actively engaging in the hub community.

The aim is for the hub to replicate the variations of types of families and age ranges of children that operate within an average extended family.

Support provided by the hub home

The support provided through the hub home includes:

  • planned and emergency respite care 24/7
  • monthly social events for families providing peer interaction and support for caregivers, children and young people
  • unlimited access to social support and mentoring for satellite carers
  • help to navigate the system and access community resources

The hub home can also provide a neutral environment for shared decision-making meetings, social worker visits, sibling and birth family visits, as well as critical support to social workers by problem solving, and so increasing safety, well-being, and permanency.

A key feature of the MFM is that it helps to take good care of the people who take care of children and young people.

Aims of the project

The aims of the MFM are to increase placement stability for children who are looked after, prioritise sibling connections, promote active child protection, support permanency and improve the support provided to foster carers so that the local authority can retain foster carers.

The model was developed in Washington State, USA and is based on the concept of extended family. The model is evidence-based, has been formally evaluated and shows improved outcomes for children, young people and foster carers.

What’s happening in our borough

The Fostering Network, with funding from the Department for Education, is introducing and supporting the delivery of the MFM to foster care in the UK.

We are one of a number of local authorities who will be delivering the MFM and we plan to launch our first hub in December 2017 and set up further hubs throughout 2018.

Key contacts

Joanne Laird-Jeffrey, liaison worker

joanne.laird-jeffrey@lbbd.gov.uk

More information

Underpinning principles of MFM (PDF, 142.49 KB)

The Fostering Network - Mockingbird Family Model

Fostering statement of purpose

This statement of purpose is reviewed whenever necessary, but at least annually, and revised as required. Copies are made available to all fostering service staff and upon request to all foster carers, prospective foster carers, children placed with foster carers by the service, and their parents.

Fostering statement of purpose 2018 (PDF, 215 KB)

Transferring from another fostering agency

We are always keen to hear from existing foster carers.

These are some of the reasons why you should foster with us:

  • if you live in or around Barking and Dagenham we are on your doorstep when you need help and we offer outstanding support
  • in our last full fostering inspection we were judged as outstanding in all six areas
  • we pay a competitive allowance

All transfers will follow the Fostering Network’s transfer protocol to ensure a smooth transition.

transfer protocol (PDF, 91.4 KB)

The three main stages when you transfer are:

  1. You will need to inform your current agency of your intent to transfer as you can only be registered with one agency at a time. We will then work out a time frame with them for when you can transfer to us
  2. We will access your file with your current agency and this forms part of your re-assessment
  3. We will need to carry out an assessment. However with the information from your current agency this should be completed within good time scales and you can remain registered with your current agency until you transfer to us

Contact us for further information or to discuss your individual situation.

Private fostering

Private fostering is an arrangement a parent makes for their child to live with someone who is not a close relative or guardian, for longer than 28 days. A close relative or guardian is defined as a step-parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt or uncle, or someone who has parental responsibility.

If you care for someone else’s child, who is under the age of 16 years (or 18 years if disabled) for 28 days or more, at any one time and you are not a guardian or close relative, you are privately fostering.

It is estimated that approximately 20,000 children in the UK live away from home in private fostering arrangements. However, less than 50% of these arrangements are registered.

What you need to do

Both the parent of the child and those providing the child’s care must inform the council of the arrangement at least 6 weeks before it begins. If you are currently caring for someone else’s child, and you have not informed us, you must do so immediately.

Why you need to inform us

Although it is a private agreement between parents and care providers, there are regulations about how a privately fostered child is looked after. We have a duty and responsibility to check these regulations are followed.

Caring for someone else’s child is a big responsibility. You need to love and care for this child, work in partnership with the parents, regardless of where they live and be able to let go of the child when their time with you comes to an end. We will offer you support in meeting these commitments, as well as offer you advice if you are considering privately fostering someone else’s child.

Who to contact 

Duty and Assessment Team

020 8227 3882 or 020 8227 3852 or 020 8227 3860

Someone will arrange to visit you to talk about the circumstances and how they can best support you and the child. If you are the child’s parent, we will help you to make sure your child is kept safe and cared for during the time you are unable to have your child with you.

For more general enquiries about fostering, you can contact the Fostering Team.

Private fostering awareness posters (PDF, 216 KB)

Private fostering - Statement of purpose

This Statement of Purpose is a description of Private Fostering arrangements within the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. The National Minimum Standards for Private Fostering, Standard 1, requires that there is a clear description of and guide to the service for professionals, the public, council members and external organisations.

Private fostering - Statement of purpose 2019 (PDF, 302 KB)