Intensive Support Fostering Scheme

Southern Trust

We are currently recruiting foster carers for our Intensive Support Fostering Scheme

What is Intensive Support Fostering?

Intensive Support Fostering is a new development within the continuum of care / foster care. The scheme will operate as a multi agency, multi professional team in order to respond to the needs of the young people in a holistic way.

Intensive Support Fostering was developed to provide a service for children / young people whose needs cannot be met within mainstream fostering. The scheme is aimed at young people between 12 and 18 years of age living within the Southern Trust area.

These young people display challenging behaviour and are at risk of placement in an intensive support residential unit / secure accommodation. Some may have experienced multiple breakdowns of placements.

Aim of the scheme

The scheme will facilitate the provision of care environments which will promote placement stability and continuity of care. These care environments will assist young people to cope with past experiences and promote psychological and emotional health and wellbeing.

The scheme will promote understanding within the systems supporting young people, and of the impact of their experiences on their psychological and emotional health and development.

 Support for foster carers

  • Regular visits and telephone contact from a supervising social worker
  • 24 hour on call telephone support (this includes weekends and bank holidays)
  • Foster carer support groups
  • Planned respite based on the needs of the young person
  • A clinical psychologist will provide consultation for carers
  • Membership of the Fostering Network, a charity offering advice, insurance and support to foster carers
  • Monthly placement review meetings

Support for young people in placement

  • A named social worker who will visit the young person at least once per month
  • A social work therapist will support each placement and work closely to progress the young person’s move from foster care back to his / her birth family or to independent living if appropriate
  • Monthly placement review meetings

Who can apply to become an Intensive Support foster carer?

Intensive Support foster carers will be individuals or couples with experience of caring for young people over the age of 12. They will have insight into the young person’s difficulties and be committed to working with them to help stabilise their behaviour for a minimum of 18 months. A fee will be paid to Intensive Support foster carers to reflect this expectation.

Due to the intensive support required by the young person, one foster carer is required to be available on a full time basis. There will be no other young people fostered in the placement as research has shown that this can affect the stability of the placement for young people with challenging behaviours. Preferably, there will be no other young people of a similar age living in the household although this will depend on the age and maturity of the child.

The young people referred to the scheme

The young people will have a variety of complex needs and may exhibit two or more of the following types of behaviour:

  • Non school attendance         
  • Consistent verbal abuse
  • Running away
  • Self harming behaviours including attempted suicide
  • Alcohol and or substance abuse
  • Difficulty coping with living in a group situation
  • Persistent and or serious criminal offending
  • Sexually harmful or exploitative behaviour
  • Physical  and verbally aggressive behaviours

 Assessment process for potential foster carers

  • Initial enquiry made to Intensive Support Fostering Team
  • Initial home visit
  • Applicant completes Skills to Foster course
  • Police, health, social services and employment checks are carried out
  • Assessing social worker gathers information about the applicants and their abilities in relation to caring for young people, providing a safe environment working as part of a team and personal development through interviews, case studies, exercises, witness statements and referee interviews
  • Assessment contribution from the Therapeutic Lead for the Intensive Support Fostering Scheme.
  • The completed assessment is presented to a multi-disciplinary panel for approval. The role of the panel is to confirm that the assessment process has been carried out in accordance with legal requirements and Trust policies, decide if the applicant should be approved and identify any areas of skill and knowledge that require further training
  • A young person will be placed with the foster carers following a comprehensive information gathering, matching and planning process
  • All foster carers will be subject to an annual review to ensure they continue to meet the requirements of the Intensive Support foster carers

Contact us

For more information contact John Galway, Intensive Support Scheme Coordinator on Tel: (028) 8775 2033  or (028) 3082 5155