Specialist fostering gives children with complex needs a placement within a family setting. Specialist fostering was developed to provide family placements for children who are in residential care or who may be at a high risk of entering residential care. FFI is striving to provide long-term sustainable specialised foster care placements for children and young people with a history of multiple placement breakdowns and behavioural issues.
The model of work involves a ‘wraparound’ of support services including social work, childcare support, education and therapy which would sustain highly demanding placements.
Specialist fostering placements will have three distinct stages following matching and planning. Making the right match between the foster carer and the child or young person is the most important factor in determining the success of a placement.
All foster carers will receive additional specialist training to enable them to deal with the most challenging situations including:
- Advanced attachment training
- Offending behaviour
- Exclusion from school
- Self-harming behaviours
- Complex attachment behaviours
- Sexualised behaviours
The following services are also provided by FFI as an integral part of the Specialist Fostering service building on the supports provided as part of our enhanced placements.
- A dedicated Link Social Worker will monitor the foster placement, making regular visits to the carer and keeping thorough records about how the placement is progressing. The Link Social Worker will also produce a written monthly report as standard (for a minimum 12 months until the child or young person is stabilised in placement, as determined at the Team Parenting Meeting
- A Therapist will provide clinical support to the foster carers and professionals involved. They may also coordinate and chair the Key Care Team Meeting
- FFI’s Education Officer will provide education support to create the bridge between home and school life and assist in finding and supporting appropriate education placements.
- Child Care Support Workers will support the placement and offer one to one support to the child/young person and will enable participation in social activities and promote lifelong skills including confidence building and independent living skills.
The individual assessment and therapeutic needs of the child will remain the responsibility of Tusla.