The Big Fostering Partnership brings together the expertise of the UK’s biggest fostering agency – the National Fostering Group – with a number of West Midland’s Local Authorities and The Big Issue to help recruit foster carers to provide long term family homes for children moving out of residential children’s homes sometimes called Step Down fostering.
We know there are still too many children in residential care who could make the transition to a stable, loving foster home with the right support and expertise. The Big Fostering Partnership brings together the National Fostering Group and Local Authorities to recruit foster cares who might be able to change the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in society and give them the chance to experience the love and support of a nurturing family environment.
As a Step Down foster carer you could experience the reward of helping a vulnerable child or young person to leave an institutionalised setting and begin to thrive within your home. Sometimes, all these children need is a chance and you will receive an enhanced package of support and financial reward to help you to provide this. For the children themselves, Step Down fostering provides an opportunity to make a new start, to develop resilience and self-esteem and to learn to manage their feelings and behaviour in a supportive family setting.
When a looked after child moves from a residential care home into a foster home, it is often referred to as ‘step down’, although we prefer to call it ‘step across’. For many children, the chance to be part of a family home is a dream come true but it can also be very challenging to leave behind the people, places and structures that they’ve known, often for many years. The National Fostering Group very much understands this and has created an enhanced wraparound package of support called Bridge to Foster to help children and foster carers through this important transition. It is based on many years of experience and includes intensive support, specialist input from a clinical psychologist, training, out of hours back-up and an enhanced fee. There is also a specialist Creative Care Solutions team dedicated to supporting Step Down foster carers and their children. We are delighted that Bridge to Foster helps our foster carers to achieve an 85% success rate in helping children transition into foster care. We are striving to make this 100% by constantly developing and refining our support package.
You do not need experience of fostering to become a Step Down foster carer. We are looking for people from all kinds of backgrounds and with all kinds of experience – maybe you’ve worked in residential care, or cared for a relative, or have experience of working in health, education or the police. The most important criteria is that you love children and want to make a difference to a child’s life. To speak to one of the team fill in our form below.