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How our assessment and therapy helps foster carers

Our Five Rivers foster carers are front-line members of a professional care team, providing hands-on support to looked after children. They benefit from the expertise of our in-house Assessment and Therapy team, who have backgrounds in child psychology, psychotherapy and counselling.

foster carers assessment and therapy

Katharine Anderson works at our head office, co-ordinating referrals. She explains how we work with foster carers to ensure the children in our care are able to access the therapeutic inputs they need:

“The effects of trauma, neglect and abuse on developing minds are well-known, but unfortunately, there isn’t funding available to send out a clinical psychologist to assess the needs of every child in care. This is where we rely on our foster carers to help us with screening for potential difficulties: at 6 weeks into the placement we ask them to fill in a series of screening tools to identify what support needs the child may have. We believe the carers are best-placed to complete these assessments because they are the closest adult to the child.

Once the assessments have been completed and returned, an integrated meeting will be held with the foster carers, their social working team and a clinical psychologist. This meeting will provide further support and advice if needed. This process is repeated yearly to provide consistent support, and to review actions and recommendations previously set.

There is plenty of support at hand if carers need it – they can call a fostering support worker 24/7 or contact the assessment and therapy team for more information.”

Foster carers are also experiencing the benefits of the approach: Jenny Summers, Fostering Team Manager in Chesterfield, said:

“The integrated sessions are really useful – they provide an opportunity for us all to get together and carers find it helpful to know that they are being listened to and supported.”

Five Rivers Assessment and Therapy have produced an educational booklet for foster carers and support workers about the common attachment issues that affect the behaviour and well-being of young people. It explains how these issues can be identified by foster carers and treated by an intervention plan of action.

The booklet has been made available to our fostering support staff, social workers and foster carers as part of their ongoing professional training in children’s social care.

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