Five Rivers Fostering Service A guide to fostering, for children looked after by Five Rivers Fostering Service
Aged 3-10 years
This Guide will tell you about Five Rivers fostering service so you know what to expect when you are in foster care. Our fostering service are all the people involved in finding foster families for children needing to be looked after by foster carers. The fostering service wants to make sure we have enough foster carers for all of the children who need them. It is important that they are able to look after lots of children of different ages and backgrounds. Five Rivers has foster carers who look after children just like you. We also look after children who are different to you. We try very hard to find the best people to look after all the children who come to stay with Five Rivers foster carers. We have 325 foster carers looking after 350 children. All these adults and children are helped by the people who work for Five Rivers.
? Foster Carers Foster carers are people who look after children in their own house. They are carefully chosen and trained before children like you go to live with them. Some have their own children and some do not. Some have pets and some do not. Many of them have already shared their homes with children like you.
A social worker for your foster carers Our foster carers have a Five Rivers social worker who visits them. This person is called the supervising social worker and may be a man or a woman. It is the supervising social worker’s job to make sure your foster carer can look after any children who are fostered by them. You will soon get to know this person and can talk to them when you see them.
Your own social worker You will have your own social worker. It is your social worker’s job to know if you are safe and being looked after properly. Your social worker will get to know you and listen to you and will help you to say things to your family and to your foster carers. Your social worker will help to make a plan about where you will live.
Your foster carer will try to make you feel safe and comfortable while you live with them.
They will: • • • • • • • • • •
Keep you safe Listen to you Give you food that you like and that is good for you Give you a room that is clean and warm Help you to see your family if that has been planned Help you to go to school and to do homework Tell you what their rules are and explain them Make you a part of the family and the things they do together Not talk about you or your family to their friends Help you to follow your religion if you want to
• Five Rivers foster carers will look after you while a plan is made You will be asked to help make the plan • All the adults will talk to each other too to help make the plan • The plan will say if you are going home or if you will stay with foster carers for a short time and then go home • Sometimes the plan will say children cannot go home
? The adults and children will treat you with respect. This means they will listen to you and speak to you without shouting or being nasty. All the children in the family should be treated the same with no favourites! Some families will discuss things together so that you can help make decisions with each other.
Foster Carers will make sure: • • • • • • • •
You will have your own bedroom You will have furniture for your clothes, books and toys You can see your social worker in private You get pocket money You get help to stay in touch with friends and family You get hair gels, shampoo and other nice things to stay clean You get someone to listen to how you feel and what you want You can celebrate your birthday and your religious festivals like Diwali, Christmas, Eid or others • You get someone who wants you to be happy and healthy
Things your foster family are not allowed to do to you: • • • •
They must not smack you or hit you They cannot lock you in a room They are not allowed to refuse to feed you at mealtimes They cannot treat you differently because of your race or religion or because you are a boy or girl • They cannot stop you seeing your family when your social worker has said you can see them
Participation within Five RiversFostering We are passionate about participation. Participation is about keeping children and young people at the centre of everything we do.
What is participation? We involve children and young people in decisions that affect them; in how the fostering service is being run, how we are working with children and young people to help share their experiences and change the way people think about fostering. Participation is fun and brings changes children and young people want to see.
Participation within your Foster Family You will be offered several ways to get involved in the way your home is run, how your care plan is created and your progress reviewed; what hobbies you want to follow, groups you want to join and friends you want to spend time with. You may not always get what you would prefer but we will listen to you and take what you tell us into account before making decisions.
? Participation within Five Rivers Fostering You will also be offered lots of opportunities to get involved in bigger decisions by helping us to train and recruit staff, make films and DVD’s, sit on a youth council and work with the board of directors to help steer the future of the service. You can create new projects to help express yourself. We want you to have your say and we will take your views seriously to improve things for you, now and for those who follow you.
Participation outside your home and the organisation It is a child’s right to be involved in decisions under the ‘UN Convention on the Rights of the Child’. We will also encourage you to take part in participation opportunities outside Five Rivers helping you to have your say along with other children and young people in the country. Ask your foster carer for more information. Look out for Neo, our young person’s mascot. Every time you see him, you will know it is your chance to be heard.
There will be lots of meetings with you and your foster carers. This is to make sure you are treated properly and to make sure you and your foster family are able to live together. You may not have to go to some of the meetings but it is important that the social workers find out from you how you are feeling and to see if you have any questions.
We know that sometimes you will feel sad, angry or confused. We know that you may find it hard to talk about things that worry you. Our foster carers will always try to listen to you and you will be safe when you talk to them. If you cannot talk to your foster carer the Five Rivers social worker and your own social worker are safe people you can tell your worries to. All these adults want you to feel safe and happy. Please try to let us know what you are thinking because sometimes adults try to guess what children want and they don’t always guess right.
All foster families have rules to keep everybody safe. The rules are the same for everybody in the house. When you join the family the foster carer will talk to you about the rules. If you don’t understand them please try to ask. If you think they are unfair you will be able to talk about the rules with your social worker.
The Rules: • • • • • •
Show respect to everyone in the house No name calling Do not take things that belong to other people without asking Join in family meals and family activities Play out only where you are allowed to go Tell us if you have a problem
Money Your foster carer gets money to look after you and to buy the things you need such as clothes and food. You will get pocket money. Your foster carers will be told how much to give you.
Your foster carers know you may want to bring some special toys and other things with you. If you are not sure about bringing something please ask. If you have something precious your foster carer can look after it for you.
Your foster carers will help you to keep doing your activities and hobbies. You may even find new things to do like youth club, football, karate, photography, swimming and dancing. Lots of foster families go on holidays, camping, weekends away or day trips.
If you are unhappy about something please tell someone. You will not get into trouble. There are lots of people who will listen to you. These are your foster carer, your social worker, the Five Rivers social worker, a teacher, a doctor, a nurse, a play leader and more. They will try to make things better for you. There are other people who can help and their phone numbers are on the back page of this Guide. Ask somebody to help you speak to them. Five Rivers has a person you can get in touch with if you want to complain. You can ask an adult or friend to help you to complain if you need to. You can complain by writing to: Director of Fostering Five Rivers Child Care Ltd Fostering Service 47 Bedwin Street Salisbury Wiltshire SP1 3UT Your social worker or the Five Rivers social worker will help you to make your complaint. Five Rivers treats all childrenâ€™s complaints with respect and will not ignore you if you complain â€“ that is a big promise!
Use this space to make notes or list any contacts you need. Social Worker name:
Social Worker Telephone No:
Foster Carer Name
Foster Carer Telephone No:
Independent Reviewing Officer Name :
Independent Reviewing Officer Telephone No
Other Important People:
ChildLine This is the free 24-hour helpline for children and young people in the UK. You can call the helpline on
Tel: 0800 1111 Child Line’s counsellors are there to help you find ways to sort things out about any problem, at any time-day or night. Child Line is confidential which means they won’t tell anyone about your call unless you want them to talk to somebody for you, or you are in danger.
Ofsted An organisation which checks the work of fostering agencies in England.
Ofsted Piccadilly Gate, Store Street Manchester M1 2WP Tel: 0300 123 1231 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
NSPCC National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. If you need help or advice, or are concerned that you or another child may be at risk.
Tel: 0808 800 5000 This helpline is open 24 hours a day.
Children’s Commissioner - ‘Help at hand’ ‘We are here to help you tackle the challenges you’re facing’
Sanctuary Buildings, 20 Great Smith St, London SW1P 3BT Tel: 0800 528 0731 Email: email@example.com
We hope you found this booklet helpful. If there is anything that you did not understand or you want to find out more about, then talk to your foster carer or social worker.