8.45: It’s a Monday morning and the first thing I do is send an email to all the social workers as a last check for any movements in placements which have happened over the weekend or in the last week.
8.50: I complete the compiling of our accounting form for the last week. This means inputting the details of any new children who have been placed, or any children that have moved back home or to another provision. I then send this off to our finance department who invoice local authorities and send foster carers’ allowances for the week.
9.30: I receive a live chat on our website from somebody who is interested in becoming a foster carer. They live in London and have 2 spare bedrooms in their home. I give them a call, have a chat about their childcare experience and explain all about the application process, and book them in for an initial home visit with one of our social workers.
10.00: I receive a contract from a local authority for one of the children we have recently placed. I review the contract to check everything is okay, sign it and send it back to the council.
10.22: I receive an email from a placement officer at a local authority letting me know that our carer was not chosen for a sibling group of 3 they needed a placement for. They explain that this is because another carers was found who lives closer to the children’s school. I ring our carer and let them know the disappointing news. They had been hopeful but they understood that the LA would prefer a more local carer so were not expectant.
10:50 I receive a live-chat on our website from a child who is currently in foster care (not with our agency) who is telling me that they feel sad and are missing their parents. They tell me that their foster carers are very nice and have made they feel at home, but no-one has told them when they can see their parents or what is going to happen in the future. I try to reassure them, make sure they have somebody to talk to and guide them towards to the best place of support. I tell the young person that we are always here if they need a chat, and that it can sometimes help to talk about our worries or things making us feel sad to people in our lives. The young person said they would talk to their foster carer and social worker.
13.00: I receive a referral for a child in a London borough where we currently have a carer who has a vacancy. The referral is for a 15 year old girl who is at risk of child sexual exploitation. Our carer is a single female and is experienced at caring for teenage girls with these kinds of issues. I look up her school to our carer’s home on google maps – bingo! Our carer lives a 10 minute drive from the school.
13.15: I ring our carer up and tell her about the referral I have received. She is interested to know more, so I forward the email to her and to her supervising social worker.
13.30: The supervising social worker emails back saying she supports the match, and the carer rings me to say she would like to be put forward. I run the referral past our Registered Manager who asked me to explain why I think it would be a good match. I explain and he agrees with the proposed plan. I give the local authority a call, who then ask me to send documentation of our carer to them.
13.50: After receiving documentation about our carer, the social worker for the teenage girl thanks me and says she feels this could be a great match.
14.15: I receive an emergency phone call from one of our social workers saying that an 18 month old baby placed with one of our carers has pulled his stomach tube out, which means that the foster carer must take him to hospital in London to put it back into place immediately. The child’s 3 year old brother is also placed with this foster carer, and someone needs to collect him as he has contact with his grandma in one hour. The social worker is in a different area with another foster carer, so I handover to my colleague who is also a placement and recruitment officer for the north west, and get in my car. I arrive at the foster carers’ house to a nice big hug from the 3 year old, and off we go to the contact centre.
16.00: I collect the 3 year old boy from the contact centre and drop him home as the male foster carer is now home from work to look after him.
16.45: I receive an email from the local authority saying that they would like to place the 15 year old girl whose referral I was working with earlier with our carer – tonight! I inform our carer and social worker, and arrange for when the child’s social worker will be bringing her to our carer’s home that evening.
17.00: I begin working on the placement referral form, which includes information all about the child’s medical needs, reasons for being in care, education, behaviour and much more. I conclude by explaining the matching elements which came into play here and I feel that this placement is an excellent match for our foster carer.
17.20: I receive a phone call from someone who is interested in fostering. They live in an area where we are currently recruiting foster carers, so we have a conversation all about what fostering is, the requirements and the application process. I send them out our application form and information brochure, and book my manager in for an initial home visit with the applicant for next week.
by Lynsey Dobbs – Senior Recruitment Officer, UK Fostering