Social worker support
Once approved as a foster carer, you will have your own supervising social worker, who will visit you and your family regularly. Their role is to support you and your family while you are fostering and to offer advice about any concerns or worries you may have.
Every child or young person who is looked after has their own social worker, who works closely with the child and their family. Their supervising social worker will visit regularly to see the child and offer any help or guidance you may need.
If you have an emergency or concern out of normal office hours you can call the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) or a dedicated fostering support line who will offer advice.
Mockingbird Family Model
The Mockingbird family model joins small groups of foster families together, like an extended family, these groups are referred to as constellations. Each constellation is made up of between 6 and 10 homes, supported by an experienced foster carer whose role is 'Hub Home' carer.
- All the homes in the constellation are geographically close.
- The Hub Carer hosts monthly constellation meetings, encouraging interaction between families within the constellation as well as arrange days out, social events and sleepovers.
- The Mockingbird model has been introduced to improve placement stability, security and positive relationships for foster children.
- The model provides robust peer support and training and development opportunities for foster carers.
- Being part of a constellation allows our children to experience being part of an extended family, giving them the chance to build friendships with other children in foster families.
- Foster Carers may have opportunity to join a constellation dependant on their locality.
We're currently developing our third constellation and aim to grow the scheme to allow families across the borough access to this support model.
- We can put you in touch with our approved foster carers so you can learn about their fostering experiences and find out all about day-day fostering. They can also support you and your family throughout the assessment process.
- We hold regular support groups for our foster carers, in North and South Kirklees. These cover different topics and we invite guest speakers from other teams and organisations. Foster carers are encouraged to attend, to keep up-to-date with service news and developments, build relationships and make friends with other carers.
- If you need a break we may be able to provide some respite, especially between placements.
- All foster carers have free membership to the Fostering Network, which provides a wealth of information. You can seek advice from them too.
During your assessment, and throughout your fostering career, you will be encouraged to undertake training to help you develop your skills and knowledge as a foster carer.
We offer a comprehensive package of training courses and e-learning to help and support you. As part of your assessment, we'll ask you to attend our 'Skills to foster' preparation training. There is also an annual programme of ongoing training to help you build up your skills and knowledge. Some courses are mandatory and include:
- First aid
- Healthy and safety
- keeping safe online and on social media
Within the first twelve months of being approved, you are required to complete the Training, Support and Development Standards (TSDS) for foster care. The standards set out expectations for foster carers. By attending a mandatory fostering induction training course, as well as a positive first year review, you will be considered to have achieved these standards.
Don't worry if you haven't studied for a while - we are here to support you.