Meeting foster children's emotional and behavioural needs - Ideas from practice

REDBRIDGE has a 'specialist retained carer scheme’ of time-limited fostering placements for young people with complex and challenging needs. Young people aged between 11 and 16 years are placed with specialist carers rather than with mainstream foster carers, or in residential care. The specialist carers have their own dedicated supervising social worker who is trained alongside social workers in the borough's adolescent resource centre and receives a retainer payment of £300 per week, whether or not a young person is placed with them.

NORFOLK has a specialist fostering scheme, originally funded by savings from reducing out-of-county placements. This scheme places children between the ages of 5 and 15. Foster carers and social workers work closely alongside staff from a local residential therapeutic unit. The support package, fees and the services for children are in line with those of nearby independent fostering providers.

FIND US KEEP US is part of the Sexual Abuse Child Consultancy Services Group. It offers an integrated multi-disciplinary approach with measurable outcomes, consisting of therapeutic parenting, therapy, life-story and placement services to aid recovery from trauma. The programme continues into placement.

THE COMMUNITY ALTERNATIVE PLACEMENT SCHEME 1 was set up by NCH Action for Children Scotland in 1997 in response to a need for community-based alternatives to secure care and accommodation. Young people placed present a full range of behavioural problems including aggression, self-harm, prostitution, drug misuse and alcohol misuse. An evaluative study of its effectiveness concluded that a considerable number (of these young people) can be placed in foster care and some can be helped to turn their lives around in a major way (Walker et al, 2002:223).

The Wessex Community Projects Remand Fostering Scheme 1 is also provided by the NCH, and HAMPSHIRE, PORTSMOUTH, SOUTHAMPTON and the ISLE OF WIGHT councils commission its services. Young people who might otherwise be remanded in custody are referred for foster placements. Staff estimate that 75 per cent of young people in the project do not commit further offences. The project has also developed a post-custody supported accommodation scheme.

THE GENESIS FOSTERING PROJECT 1 in Newcastle is a Barnardo’s scheme which provides local authorities in the north east with planned specialist foster placements for young people who display sexually abusive, or extensive sexualised behaviour, which is causing concern and does, or may, pose a threat to others.

NCH’s Caring Together 1 in Lincoln provides a combined family placement and support service. There are foster placements for children with complex medical demands and challenging behaviour arising from their disabilities and families can access support services.