Free public transport for carers

October 20, 2008 at 8:32 am | Posted in Articles, Media | Leave a comment
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A small step forward is documented in this small article from the Herald Sunclick here to read. Some foster carers for children and young people with a disability will now be eligible for free public transport on Sundays. Wouldn’t it be great to see free public transport offered to all foster carers, all of the time? If this were the case, it might go a little way towards easing some of the major transport issues surrounding foster care.

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Foster Carer Training

September 27, 2007 at 10:03 am | Posted in About Fostering, Issues for Fostering | 2 Comments
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There have been many questions lately about what training as a foster carer involves, so I thought I would address it here.

This year, new packages for the training and assessment of foster carers have been rolled out across Victoria. They follow the NSW models Shared Stories, Shared Lives and Step By Step but have been adapted for use in Victoria. It is now legally required that all new foster carers in Victoria are trained using Shared Stories, Shared Lives and assessed using Step By Step.

The training involves 8 modules, each approximately 2 to 2.5 hours in length. These modules are:

1) Foster Care In Context (including why children need care, statutory processes, myths and realities of fostering)

2) Bonding And Attachment (including attachment problems, strategies for helping children with attachment problems, hearing the chlid’s voice, confidentiality)

3) Grief And Loss (including grief process, life story work, understanding)

4) Maintaining Connections (including experiences of the parent, importance of contact, mixed feelings around contact, ongoing tasks in foster care)

5) Experience Of Abuse (including what is child abuse, why does abuse happen, effects of abuse, background to child sexual abuse, responding to disclosures, indicators of abuse)

6) Responding To Challenging Behaviours (including inappropriate behaviours, reasons for difference, understanding challenging behaviour, managing challenging behaviours, allegations against foster carers, safe house rules)

7) Team Work (including working as a team, impact on family and friends, relationship with CSO)

8) Moving On (including saying goodbye, stresses and rewards for carers, evaluation)

All modules use real case studies to highlight issues which may arise in care, and aim to arm potential carers with the knowledge and understanding they will require to provide quality care for children and young people.

The assessment process, Step By Step, is quite comprehensive. It requires applicants to provide referees, pass a police check and a medical check, obtain a Working With Children Card as a volunteer, and write a detailed life history. This information is then complemented by a series of interviews at the end of which the assessors need to complete a report. If the assessors can show in their report that the applicant(s) can meet the four competency requirements laid down in Step By Step, then the applicant(s) will be approved as a foster carer by an accreditation panel. The applicant has to be able to:

A) Demonstrate personal readiness to become a foster carer

B) Work effectively as part of a team

C) Promote the positive development of children and young people in foster care

D) Provide a safe environment that is free of abuse

When accrediting an applicant as a carer, the assessors and accreditation panel take into account the applicant(s) desires in regard to the type of child they believe they could provide care for, as well as their own assessment of what kind of care an applicant would be able to provide. The applicant(s) will then be accredited specifically for one kind of care, or multiple kinds, as appropriate.

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