Emergency fostering is when children need somewhere safe to stay for a few nights and time-limited fostering is when carers look after children for a few weeks or months, while plans are made for the child’s future
For children and young people who are unable to return to live with their birth family we very carefully choose alternative permanent carers. Our long term foster carers look after children until they reach maturity and independence.
The Family Link Service is a short break service for families who have disabled children aged between 0-19 years living in Cambridgeshire. The service links a family which has a disabled child to a family who can help share the care of the child by welcoming them into their home. This could be for some care during the day or an overnight stay once or twice a month. This depends on the needs of the child, their family and what the carer is able to offer.
Skills and experience
What all carers have in common is a sense of commitment, motivation and time to offer on a regular basis as well as patience, a sense of humour and plenty of energy. Carers need to be sensitive to all levels of discrimination and see the child first, whatever difficulties the child experiences. Most importantly carers must build the child’s self-esteem and feeling of self-worth. Many of our Link carers have extensive experience and skills in working with disabled children, however full training and support is available.
Support offered to Family link carers
In addition to the training course completed by all Cambridgeshire County Council foster carers, Link carers will be given further training as part of their Training Support and Development Induction Programme. The training we offer covers the wide range of subjects needed to deliver a high quality short breaks service. Carers working with children who have clinical medical needs, epilepsy or manual handling requirements receive specialist training.
Assessment and approval process
The Link team of social workers and child and family workers take responsibility for the assessment, training, monitoring and supervision of new carers. The Link social worker gets to know prospective carers very well. Through the assessment process, they ensure that new carers understand the responsibilities involved and to ensure the maximum safety for children.
We take up several references and statutory checks for each carer and other members of the household and we make several home visits to interview each member of the family. The assessment process is very thorough and takes several months to complete. Link is part of the wider Fostering Service and potential carers also attend the Skills to Foster preparation course. We then compile a report to give a clear picture of the applicant’s background and motivation which is presented to the Fostering Panel. It is ultimately the decision of the panel to recommend approval. This recommendation is then ratified by the Agency Decision Maker before applicants are confirmed as Link carers.
The Supported Lodgings scheme provides young people aged between 16 and 21 years old with a room in a friendly home and the support and guidance of an adult or adults living there.
Supported Lodgings carers support young people to gain the independence skills and confidence they need as they transition to adulthood and independent living. This will include help with preparing meals, washing and budgeting as well as emotional support and guidance. Our carers provide less intensive support and lower level of supervision compared to foster carers. This makes it possible for Supported Lodgings carers to continue paid employment alongside their caring role.
Who can become a supported lodgings carer?
We are looking for people who feel they can offer approachable, open-minded support to a young person in order to help prepare them for independence. You need to live within easy access of good public transport links and have a spare room in your home. Carers can be single, married or living with a partner. Carers may have adult children who have moved out of home, children still at home or may not have had any children of their own.
What support do supported lodgings carers receive?
Cambridgeshire County Council provide a comprehensive support package including preparation training, ongoing support. Carers are paid £250 per week while a young person is placed with them.