At Bolton Council we understand the importance of training, support and advice for our foster carers.

All our foster carers are offered regular training which includes day time and evening sessions. You will have your own supervising social worker who will visit you on a regular basis.  The team also has support workers, a children emotional health worker and offers support groups and a buddy system as well as a 24 hour emergency phone line.

Foster carers also receive financial rewards to help them to provide the best possible care for the children they look after, as well as recognise their skills and commitment.

Training

Before you can be approved as a foster carer you are required to attend the ‘Skills to Foster’ training programme. You would need to attend six evening sessions or three full Saturdays. The course will help prepare you for the demands of fostering and hopefully you will feel more prepared once you have completed the course.

Once approved there is a mandatory programme of training that lasts two years, this includes seven ‘core skills’ courses covering subjects such as first aid and managing behaviour. Alongside these courses you will be required to complete the TSDS (Training, support and development standards) portfolio with the support of your supervising social worker.

All foster carers will have their own personal development plan and will be encouraged to extend and refresh their training throughout their fostering career.

Support

At Bolton Council we recognise that fostering can be extremely demanding.  However, most foster carers tell us that the rewards of seeing children progress far outweighs any challenges it may present.

As an approved foster carer you will be supported by your own supervising social worker who will visit you on a regular basis providing advice, support and guidance.

Children in placement will have their own social worker, who will visit the child and talk to foster carers about future plans for the child.

Other members of the fostering team can offer you extra support when you need it. These include: support workers and a looked after children’s emotional health worker.

When you are approved as a foster carer you will be matched with an experienced carer who will be your ‘Buddy’. They will be available to you for advice and support when you feel you need it and will contact you regularly during your first year.

There are a number of support groups which foster carers can attend to discuss fostering issues and meet with other foster carers. At Bolton Council we regularly run several groups to meet the needs of our carers such as: male carers and Asian carers. 

In addition to the other forms of support our foster carers have access to a 24 hour emergency duty social worker and care line, a voluntary service provided by fostering social workers.

Financial rewards

As an approved foster carer you will receive an age related maintenance allowance for each child in your care to cover day to day expenses. Additional allowances can be paid for clothing, holidays, birthdays and Christmas/Festivals.

As well as the maintenance allowance you will receive a professional fee which is also linked to the age of child in placement.

You will receive a flat rate retainer for up to eight weeks in a year when you have no children in placement.