Fostering London is well placed to respond to and provides a full range of placement types including; emergency placements, short and long term, permanency, specialist parent and child, enhanced and short break placements.
We recognise that good matching of children and foster carers is the foundation in developing significant and meaningful relationships. Fostering London works as part of a team to support and enhance family relationships and in so doing promote stability and continuity in our placements.
Sometimes a situation arises where a local authority needs to place a child the same day. This might be because of an unexpected crisis in their family, a disruption of their existing foster placement or a decision by the court. This means that the information and assessment available can be limited or incomplete. Fostering London offers a 24 hour on call service which means we are well placed to respond to placing authority requests during and out of office hours. We recognise that to provide outstanding quality in these circumstances requires considerable input from our staff and are committed to working closely with placing authorities and foster carers to achieve this.
We provide foster homes for children from 0 to 18 years who may need care for a few days, weeks or months. This might be because of a short-term problem in their family or while future plans for permanency are assessed. Fostering London may help to prepare the child for reunification with their family; joining an adoptive or permanent foster family; or moving to independence.
Long term and permanent placements are agreed when a formal decision has been made that the best permanency plan for a child is a foster placement up to and into adult independence. Our foster carers may be matched to the child as the result of a family finding search or the permanency plan might arise from a short-term placement and the attachment that has developed from this. Supporting the development and continuity of quality relationships assist children in developing secure attachments, a sense of belonging and identity and resilience. We support long-term foster care and permanency arrangements and recognise its benefits in promoting best outcomes for our children and young people.
Fostering London is committed to the extension of young person’s transition into adulthood within a family environment. As such we work with the placing authority to facilitate this arrangement where it is deemed to be in young people’s best interests, with their and the foster carers agreement. Staying put arrangements have been shown to promote opportunities and best outcomes for young people including increased stability and continuity of care, as well as higher take up rates in further/ higher education and employment.
Some children have very complex needs which require intensive support from their foster carers and from Fostering London staff. These needs may involve very challenging behaviour or complex disabilities/medical needs or on remand. We work closely with our specially trained foster carers and the network working with the child to provide agreed individual programmes of personalised support.
Fostering London has specialist skills and experience in this provision and we fully recognise the very particular assessment, training, systems and support that are needed to prepare foster carers to be effective in this role.
We can provide placements for couples or for single parents of either gender. Staff have successful experience of such placements for parents ranging in age from young teenagers to those in their 30’s. When it has been decided that a parent and child placement is in a child’s best interests, their placement together can help to sustain/nurture the attachment between them that will be necessary for reunification in the community to be successful. Living within a family home with a one to one relationship with an experienced foster carer facilitates opportunities for learning, change and assessment. It can reduce assessment times and provides a wealth of observation to assist placing authorities in making well evidenced decisions leading to timely permanence plans for children.
Respite care provides fixed term placements for children and young people. The placement period can vary between a one-off stay for a specified period to a regular arrangement where the respite foster carer looks after the child for an agreed period for example one weekend a month. Respite request can be made in an emergency but in most instances they are planned and allow foster carers to regulate their level of commitment. We are committed to maintain stability for our children and where at all possible we will try to arrange in-house respite. We recognise the important role respite plays for both children, young people and foster carers when it is properly planned, positively executed and is part of a child’s care plan.
Some Fostering London carers can provide regular short breaks for children who are otherwise living with family members or in a residential establishment for example a boarding school. This is usually because the child has a disability or because the parent has a disability or serious health problem. The purpose is to give the parent a break and to give the child positive experiences with a family that they get to know well.