About this guide
This guide is designed for practitioners but will also be useful and of interest to all those concerned with good practice in fostering.
The purpose of this guide is to offer quick and easy access to knowledge about foster care practice. It is designed to enable practitioners, carers, teams and services to think creatively about their work to benefit foster children and young people. The guide does this by:
- identifying major areas of importance in current fostering practice
- summarising key research findings
- providing references for the original research
- suggesting practice points
- giving examples and illustrations from practice
- giving definitions and details of relevant legislation, guidance and standards
- providing further information and useful web links
- providing information about current English law and standards.
As this guide has been produced using evidence from SCIE Knowledge Reviews 4 & 5 (1), (2), it does not include in any detail foster care topics outside this remit. But the importance of, for example, family and friends care, and adoption by foster carers, is recognised.
The guide topics are:
- Children’s views
- Meeting foster children’s emotional and behavioural needs
- The needs of foster children from a black and minority ethnic background
- Looked after children’s physical health
- Counselling and therapeutic help
- School and education
- Temporary foster care
- Placement stability
- Placing siblings
- Using partnerships and commissioning to create placement choice
- The profile of foster carers
- Recruiting foster carers
- Training foster carers
- Retaining foster carers
- Creating foster carer job satisfaction
- User evaluation of fostering services
What the guide does not cover
The law and standards sections apply to England only. The guide does not include every topic, for example, private fostering and the kinship care of 'looked-after’ children.
Each topic is divided into the following sections:
- Key research findings An accessible summary of the important research.
- Practice points Where appropriate, an analysis of how these findings have been translated into everyday practice.
- Research An overview of current research with references and some links to the original research.
- Ideas from practice Where available, there are practice ideas and examples showing how agencies have tried to improve practice and solve problems. Some examples, from SCIE Knowledge Review 4 (1) were evaluated by the researchers, and are referenced as such in the guide, whilst others are self-reported and have not been evaluated. We are grateful to agencies for their ideas, acknowledge that other agencies may also be doing similar work, and welcome other practice ideas which could be included.
- Law and standards Relevant legislation, guidance and standards, where it exists.
Note: Not all sections apply to every topic
The author of this guide is Mary Sainsbury, Practice Development manager at SCIE. We would like to thank all those who contributed to this guide. Particular thanks go to Rob Howells, web development officer at SCIE; Kate Wilson, Ian Sinclair, Claire Taylor, Andrew Pithouse and Clive Sellick at the Universities of Nottingham, York, Cardiff and East Anglia for their work on SCIE’s Knowledge Reviews 'Fostering Success' and 'Innovative Fostering Practice'; Alan Cave and Mary Lane who commented and advised on this work. We would also like to thank all members of the fostering reference group, advisory group and quality assurance group, for their input and insight, and Joanna Adande, Sue Lawson, Gail Goldstone and Pat Fraser who helped with initial testing.
SCIE welcomes email or written comments on any aspect of the guide, which will inform future updates. SCIE is keen to collect examples of translating key research findings and practice points into practice. You can contact SCIE from the Contact us page. Link: Contact us
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The author of this guide is Mary Sainsbury, Practice Development manager at SCIE.
Thanks go to Rob Howells, Web Development Officer at SCIE; Kate Wilson, Ian Sinclair, Claire Taylor, Andrew Pithouse and Clive Sellick at the Universities of Nottingham, York, Cardiff and East Anglia for their work on SCIE's knowledge reviews 'Fostering Success' and 'Innovative Fostering Practice'; and Alan Cave and Mary Lane who commented and advised on this work.
We would also like to thank all members of the fostering reference, advisory and quality assurance groups for their input and insight, and Joanna Adande, Sue Lawson, Gail Goldstone and Pat Fraser who helped with testing the guide.