10 benefits of fostering through Gloucestershire County Council

Considering fostering in Gloucestershire? SoGlos shares 10 reasons to foster with Gloucestershire County Council, with the local authority offering everything from regular training and local 24/7 support to annual conferences and a competitive allowance for its foster families.

By Zoe Gater  |  Published
Find out 10 key benefits of choosing to foster through Gloucestershire County Council Fostering.
In partnership with Gloucestershire County Council Fostering  |  gloucestershire.gov.uk
Gloucestershire County Council Fostering

Gloucestershire County Council is helping people to take the first steps of their fostering journey, offering everyone from all walks of life the opportunity to find out how they can make a big difference to the life of a local child via a selection of helpful resources, including in-person and online fostering events.

With nearly 900 children and young people needing foster care across Gloucestershire, sourcing local foster carers is essential to keeping them in the same school and area as their friends and family, maintaining as much familiarity and normality as possible. 

If you're considering fostering, or are just curious to find out more, SoGlos rounds up 10 benefits of becoming a foster carer through Gloucestershire County Council Fostering — from the abundant training available to benefits that span round-the-clock support and the financial recognition of your time and skill as a foster carer...

It's the first port of call

Local authorities are the first port of call for all children needing foster care, from newborn up to the age of 18 — meaning that only children that GCC cannot find a home for with its own carers are placed with IFAs (Independent Fostering Agencies).

Therefore, GCC foster carers are given priority when a child needs a safe home in Gloucestershire, as well as offering shorter gaps between children's placements.

It offers a full range of flexible fostering placements

To make sure there's a fostering option suitable for you, GCC Fostering offers a range of specific schemes alongside mainstream fostering, such as Launchpad, which helps accommodate 16 to 17 year old care leavers and asylum seeking children; parent and child fostering, providing a safe and secure home for a parent and their child; as well as Family Link Plus where carers provide short daytime or overnight breaks for children who have complex health needs or disabilities.  

Other fostering variations include Emergency Fostering, which is a great option for carers who require more of a balance between their own lives and their time fostering by offering short term stays — such as Jules, who fosters with GCC, and wasn't initially sure how she could juggle it all with her elderly parents and a granddaughter who likes to stay with her. 

It keeps the child connected to their roots

Fostering through local authorities such as Gloucestershire County Council means that all children stay local — local to schools, to communities, to their birth family. Whereas fostering with IFAs could mean you have a child from Sussex or Weston-super-Mare, for example, even though you live in Gloucestershire. 

The combination of staying around close friends, near family members, recognisable communities and at their current school perhaps with a teacher they like and trust can give children some stability.

There's consistent policies 

Fostering via local authorities also mean that the child’s social worker, fostering social workers and foster carers are all part of the same organisation. This allows for all involved to follow the same policies which have been designed to work in the best interests of the children, achieving the best outcomes for them. 

Plus, with all parties located in the same area, communication can be regular, conversations can happen over a coffee and up-to-date information can flow freely between everyone.

Plenty of local support 

There is an abundance of support and training available within the county, and as a foster carer with GCC Fostering, you’ll have the option to attend regular support groups of other foster carers in your area, where you can share and learn from people doing the same thing as you. Uniquely, GCC Fostering also offers specific outreach to birth children with its fun and supportive Kids 4 Kids group.

And as Gloucestershire County Council Fostering runs support groups all around the region with all training provided locally, this means foster carers have less time in the car and more time focusing on what really matters.

Unique conferences

Another standout for fostering with GCC is its annual conferences which all carers are invited to — most recently it was held in the Gloucester Rugby Stadium.

During the day, carers can take part in some inspiring training — for example, at the latest conference there was a speaker who is an occupational therapist working with the under fives on a lot of sensory issues. He was teaching games to play with the children and things that you can do that will really help bring their development on and catch up on those missed stages. 

Foster carers get 24/7 support

Another huge benefit of fostering with the local authority is that you'll be able to call on out-of-hours support in an emergency.

GCC Fostering also offers excellent links with local specialists. For example, although waiting lists are really long, CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) have got a ring fenced service just for foster carers; there are also family support workers who can step in quickly, sometimes the next day, if something's happening at home. 

It offers extensive training for its foster carers

Your training with GCC Fostering starts from the beginning of your application to foster and continues throughout your fostering career.

There is a lot of training available on every aspect, from building trust to development courses. For example, those looking after teenagers will cover things from self-harming and suicidal thoughts, to sex and alcohol. There are opportunities for younger children to work alongside child psychologists to explore how emotional trauma has impacted their presenting behaviours and attachment, and what survival strategies they might demonstrate.

There's competitive pay

Despite many foster carers not doing it for the financial benefits, you don't need to worry about fostering leaving you out of pocket. Each day that you are caring for a child in your home, you will receive a payment that covers the expenses that come with looking after them. The income will vary based on the age, covering normal expenditure for the care of the child such as food, transport to school, meals, school trips, uniforms, clothing, toiletries, haircuts and more. 

You will also receive a generous fee in recognition of your time and skill as a foster carer. This isn’t a salary as such but it does recognise the professional nature of fostering. Plus, as foster carers are self employed, you will be eligible for qualifying care relief, which means you may not need to pay tax on your fostering income.

It's not-for-profit

Unlike some IFAs, local authorities invest all their money into children, young people and foster carers. 

GCC Fostering's priority is ensuring the best outcomes for the children in its care.

For more information, visit gloucestershire.gov.uk/fostering.

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