Cover image of Step Down foster care shows image of a boys legs walking down some steps.

Step Down Foster Care is the transition to family life.

Step Down foster carers help children who have lived in residential care homes over a long period re-adjust to living within a home setting. As the name suggests, making this transition successful is a step-by-step process. Many children who have suffered severe trauma will not need foster care support. Sadly, these children needed specialised help, usually in a residential setting with access to vital support networks to support them.

Many foster carers have experience working in residential children or adult social care settings. Thankfully, they have had successful careers helping vulnerable children or adults who have faced trauma. They have much-needed experience and skills to meet children’s needs. Furthermore, they know Step Down foster care is not for the faint-hearted but for the determined. More importantly, they know that they will become very vulnerable without support as the child gets older.

Step Down foster care is a highly specialised type of care and is often the least known.

Many children have foster carers who meet their needs and, over time, settle into family life. These foster carers help children understand the feelings of belonging and being looked after where they learn to trust. Thankfully, children and foster carers develop a bond, and as a result, children flourish. They were lucky. Life wasn’t as fortunate for many others.

When children go into care, placing them with carers who will meet their needs is a priority. In a perfect world, children will move in with a relative. Sometimes there are grandparents or family friends with whom children have an existing close and loving relationship.

However, if this is not possible, they are placed in emergency care foster care for a couple of days/ weeks whilst decisions are made. These decisions are, wherever possible, to keep children in the communities to which they belong. But, for other children, foster care is not an option. Sadly, these children went into care due to abuse and moved for protection; their trauma is deep. These children need specialist, one-to-one care from experienced professionals to meet the child’s needs.

Children move into residential homes, which are described as meeting children’s needs. However, this is often not the case. And cracks begin to show as support networks fail to meet these needs.

Step Down foster carers are often former residential care workers.

One lady who applied to foster and subsequently became approved said, ‘I knew the difference I made on my shift as a children’s residential care worker. But other staff members had different styles. Some involve children, and others don’t. Often, the good work we achieved with a child is lost.’ ‘ I thought to myself, can you imagine the difference I could make if that child lived with me?’

‘Can you imagine if children moved into a home with someone they trust? Someone with the skills and experience to meet their needs; 24/7 in my home?’ Could you imagine what that would mean to a child and me?’

At the end of a 12-hour shift, I sit in my car and weep.

She said, ‘many of us sit in our cars and weep at the end of a 12-hour shift.’ It’s hard as we go home. But the kids can’t do this; they don’t know what safe home life is. How can they know this if they stay where they are?’

‘I felt like I had abandoned them as I went home to my family; that I never see anyway as I am always working.’

Another carer said, ‘If I could have put children in my pocket at the end of the day, I would. That way, I know what I face the next day as other residential care workers cause the damage. They undo the work you have done. It becomes a vicious circle, and the kids become more frustrated. Eventually, they give up on me and feel I have let them down!’

I became frustrated; I knew there was another way. I need to become a foster carer and care for these children at home; however, I needed the confidence to do it.’

Eventually, frustration became my motivation for fostering. I knew these children will become very vulnerable, especially as they get older and won’t have state support.

The reality is that the tears are not for themselves. They are tears of sheer frustration for the children they leave behind. Sadly, they are tears of fear for their future. Also, many children lose faith. They are de-sensitised to feelings; they know many of the staff don’t want to be with them. For them, residential children’s care is a job. However, for others; it’s much more than a job; it’s a vocation.

Step Down foster care enables children to take each Step one day at a time.

With Step Down foster care, children with complex needs flourish with consistent love and care to a life of hope and happiness. It is the best gift we can give a child. And, for many foster carers, it is why they do what they do. Step Down foster care has extensive support and training alongside specialist support networks that enhance your skills. And this training is where the Not for Profit Charities excel. You have 24/7 outstanding support. Thus, enabling you to take each step, one by one, one day at a time, side by side.

Step Down foster carers helps young people adjust to a life away from residential care. For, without this support, I dread to think about what happens to young people with no life experience apart from living in an institution. How do children and young people transition to a successful and independence without support?

image of a boy walking down stairs, and the text reads, Step Down Foster Care
We are transitioning to another way of life, Step by Step, one day at a time.

Step Down foster care gives support when needed most.

The answer is they don’t. These young people need help now as legislation states young people aged 16 who were in care will not have state support. Now, because of a birthday, they are once again, vulnerable.

Recent changes in Government policies state that any young person aged 16+ cannot live in unregulated homes, such as B&Bs and hotels, which is as it should be. Sadly, they will no longer receive ‘care.’ I’m afraid that’s not right. Transitioning from care is probably the most critical part of a young person’s life.

We know that children who had foster parents who enriched their lives usually move on to a happy future. Sadly, others were not that lucky. The experience of care is worse than the original trauma they suffered.

Also, they know that fate determines the influence of those people who, thankfully, took a chance on them. More importantly, it is essential to allow others to learn to trust; God only knows what would have happened to them if they hadn’t done this.

Did you know the average cost for residential care for children is £3970.00 per week?

I don’t usually comment on politics, but on this occasion, I’m going to because our Local Authorities struggle financially. Did you know the average weekly cost for a child placed in a private residential children’s home is £3970.00? This cost is a staggering £206,440 yearly when you do the math. This cost has risen by over 40% in the last six years, indicating the ‘limited impact of local authority commissioning.’

The average cost to use foster carers from these agencies averages £2000.00 per week per child. Again, do the math, agencies with a foster carer with three siblings on long-term care have a cost for Local Authorities of £6000.00 per week, equating to a staggering £312000.00 per year! Is it any wonder that Local Authorities can’t afford children’s specialist support services when they have to pay for this?

These businesses make obscene profits; why don’t they put a little money aside for the young person’s future when they are no longer eligible for their care? After all, many children live in care homes for long periods. Sadly, some children spent most of their lives there. Indeed there’s something left in the pot; giving children a better future as they leave at 16. Perhaps shareholders and directors are unaware of the vulnerability of children who rely on them, or is their motivation purely financial?

young boy looking ahead. the text reads foster carers ee beyond the label, they see the person.n

Many care workers are exhausted, with homes they never see.

Many care workers are exhausted and complain that they have homes they never see. They are exhausted from working long hours. They often work double shifts as the threat of losing their job looms if they don’t comply. The companies they work for know this. They continually exploit highly experienced staff with enormous transferable skills in caring for vulnerable children by paying low wages on zero-hour contracts and, consequently, no job security.

These care workers dedicate themselves to helping vulnerable children; however, the working conditions they endure with the support they need are often lacking. As a result, the job becomes entangled with policies and procedures which bear no resemblance to the needs of the children they support. However, they quietly get on with the job, even though there are often too many cooks in the kitchen.

Verve Recruitment CIC we don’t believe in profits made from vulnerable children.

Verve Recruitment recruits foster carers for Not for Profit Fostering Charities. We do not believe in making a profit from vulnerable children and adults; any profit made creates free-of-charge campaigns advertising the services of Not for Profit charities in our community.

These campaigns include the Knitting for Babies campaign and Salford Food Parcels, providing emergency food to vulnerable people. Also, we are part of the Armed Forces community; we have recently supported Armed Forces Veterans, travelling with precious supplies donated locally for families at the hospitals of war-torn Ukraine.

Step Down care; the difference children need; can you foster?

Step Down foster care is challenging and rewarding; you need dedication and a firm commitment to supporting a young person who is most vulnerable with 24/7 care. Not for Profit charities offer you outstanding support while respecting your skills and experiences in caring for vulnerable children. You will receive a generous allowance to make a difference in the lives of children who, sadly, face a very uncertain future without you.

If you want to arrange a chat about fostering with a Not for Profit Charity, get in touch on the form below. There’s no cost, just honest advice on the criteria for fostering and how, together, sharing skills and experiences, you make a difference in children’s futures.

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