The plus side of permanence foster care

27 January 2010

As part of the Supporting Children campaign, Northamptonshire County Council is recruiting foster carers who can offer a permanent home for children in the county who have complex needs.

The permanence plus scheme aims to provide placements for children who experience health problems or have emotional difficulties.

Placements are intended to be long-term and last until the child/young person has reached adulthood.

In return carers will be paid between £16,440 and £18,453 a year and also receive other allowances to meet extra expenses.

Carers will be assessed, trained, supported and reviewed annually against national standards.

Cabinet member for children and young people Councillor Andrew Grant said: “Permanence plus will play a vital role in ensuring children and young people in our county who have complex needs are given a caring home in which to grow up.

“Fostering gives people the unique opportunity to make a difference to a child’s life and the pleasure of seeing a young person develop confidence in themselves.

“Anyone will be considered for fostering as long as they have what it takes to care for children separated from their own families.”

Permanence plus placements are specific and permanent to an individual child or young person.

Carers should be at home full time and satisfy the following criteria:

  • have a bedroom available for the child or for each child if siblings are placed.
  • be prepared to give a high level of individual care to the child.
  • be able to make a commitment to care for the child until adulthood
  • be a family that can give the child a sense of belonging
  • be able to work alongside other professionals
  • be able to manage birth family contact

Carers will receive:

  • an annual income plus fostering allowances.
  • any necessary aids for a child with disabilities.
  • initial and on-going training – relevant to the needs of the child
  • individual support and supervision
  • therapeutic support for the child
  • contact with other fostering families for mutual support

Case study: Anthony

Anthony is a loveable active 9-year-old boy with a sense of fun and a wonderful imagination. At times Anthony can cope with situations and express himself much as other children of his age, however in many ways he is anxious, immature and lacking in confidence. Anthony therefore needs a high level of nurturing, support and guidance from adults. Anthony has been in the care of Northamptonshire County Council for 4 years and now needs a permanent foster placement.

Anthony enjoys reading and listening to stories, singing, watching TV (especially cartoons about his favourite characters and X Factor), imaginary play and computer games. Anthony also loves to be active and enjoys a range of family outings and activities. Anthony is justly proud of his progress at swimming and is very enthusiastic about his riding lesions.

Anthony loves cuddles and gentle rough and tumble and fun. He generally likes to share his interests and games with adults, but if allowed is inclined to see the adult as his playmate rather than as a responsible adult who is ‘in charge’. Anthony knows that he can become ‘overexcited’ or ‘silly’ but as yet needs adults to provide firm boundaries in order to help him to calm. Unless Anthony is unsettled by major changes in routine he generally responds well to clear boundaries.

Since early 2007 Anthony has attended a school for children with special emotional behavioural and learning needs. Anthony’s progress continues to be affected by his emotional state and by difficulties concentrating and focussing, however on ‘good’ days he can be really interested in learning. He has been very enthusiastic about a recent project on the Egyptians and mummies. Anthony enjoys school and is well-liked.

Anthony needs a permanent foster placement, preferably with 2 carers, in which he is the only or the youngest child by several years. His foster carers will need to provide nurturing and opportunities for Anthony to ‘make up’ experiences he missed as a young child while also providing firm boundaries and supporting him in taking part in age appropriate activities where possible. In view of Anthony’s complex needs carers will need to be open to working with professionals, including therapists.

To find out more about Anthony or becoming a Permanence Plus carer please contact Pauline Allen on 01604 236078 or PauAllen@northamptonshire.gov.uk


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