Can I still become a foster carer during coronavirus?
Coronavirus might have put many of our plans on hold, but if you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, the good news is you still can.
In fact, we’ve welcomed several new foster carers during lockdown and we still have groups going through our Skills to Foster training program who we hope will join the Lika family as foster carers very soon.
But, as you can imagine, COVID-19 means we have had to adapt the way we do things. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer during the coronavirus pandemic.
1. How coronavirus has affected foster carer assessments
We’re still doing our usual assessments for potential foster carers (you can read about the whole process here, so you know what to expect), they’re just being carried out online.
Our assessing social workers have been having online sessions with potential carers, including the family network meetings and talking to referees. It’s the same structure, just “virtual”.
2. Coronavirus hasn’t stopped us approving new foster carers
Our panel is still running and, in fact, we’ve had three since lockdown and we’ve welcomed several new carers during this time. The feedback on these online panels has been really positive.
3. Training and resources for foster carers during lockdown
Providing excellent training and resources to help you create transformational change in the lives of young people is at the heart of everything we do, so training delivery has continued despite lockdown. But (you guessed it) we’ve taken the training online.
Skills to Foster, the training program for people who want to become carers, has been continuing online, via Zoom. (You don’t need any particular qualifications to become a carer; we provide you with training to ensure you have the skills needed to support young people in need.)
Actually, we’ve also taken the opportunity to expand the range of online training available to our carers, with new online workshops and modules on:
- Therapeutic parenting
- Fostering tasks.
We’ve got even more new online training courses for foster carers on the way soon.
4. Support to foster carers is better than ever
One of the things we believe really strongly is that foster carers should never feel alone in what they’re trying to achieve for a young person, so ensuring that level of support continued despite coronavirus lockdown was a huge priority for us.
What we didn’t necessarily expect was that some of the innovations we introduced in response to lockdown and social distancing would be so popular that our carers would want them to continue even after lockdown ends!
We’ve been having a regular “virtual get-together” with all our carers each Thursday, which everyone has loved. We always want all our carers to have a voice and feel encouraged to participate and provide opinions about care, so these catch-ups have been fantastic.
We’ll also probably do more virtual sessions with our young people and carers in the future, as this saves on travel time, meaning we can provide better support.
5. The valuable work of care continues, despite coronavirus
As a systemic agency, we believe positive change can happen, even in the most challenging situations. Generally when we say that, we’re talking about systemic therapy and how a foster carer understanding what influences the way a young person acts and thinks, and responding with the right techniques, can be life-changing.
While the lockdown hasn’t been easy for anyone, if there’s a positive for the Lika family it’s that we’ve adapted well and, in doing so, have discovered exciting opportunities to provide even better training, resources and support to all our foster carers and young people.
Become a Foster Carer in South or East London
We’re in the London boroughs of Croydon, Sutton, Bromley, Merton, Lambeth, Westminster, Wandsworth, Lewisham, Southwark, Islington, Camden, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, City of London, Haringey, Newham, Redbridge, and Barking and Dagenham, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, give the helpful team at Lika a call on 020 8667 2111. We’re here to answer all your questions.