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

Step Down Foster Care; the difference children need to transition to family life.

Step Down foster carers help children who have lived in residential care homes over a long period to re-adjust to living back within a home setting. As the name suggests, it is a step by step process to make this transition successful. Many children who have suffered severe trauma will not need foster care support. Sadly, these children need specialised help, usually in a residential setting with access to vital support networks and staff who will 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; it is for the determined. More importantly, they know without support, when a young person gets older and doesn’t have state support, they will become very vulnerable.

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

Many children who move into foster homes 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. Hopefully, children and foster carers develop a bond, and as a result, children begin to have a sense of belonging and flourish. They were lucky; life wasn’t as fortunate for many other children.

As children enter into the state’s care, the main priority is placing children with people who meet their physical needs and their emotional and social needs. In a perfect world, children will move in with a relative, maybe grandparents or family friends with whom children have a close and loving relationship.

However, if this is not available, children are placed in emergency care foster care for a couple of days/ weeks whilst decisions are made that, wherever possible, we keep children in the communities they belong. But, for other children, foster care is not an option. Sadly, these children move from their homes as they suffered abuse and moved for their protection; consequently, their trauma is deep. These children need specialist, one to one care with consistent support from experienced people children can hopefully begin to trust.

Children move into residential homes designed to meet their complex needs; however, this often fails as the cracks begin to show with support networks that 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. However, other staff members have different styles; some involve children, others don’t. As a result, we lost the good work with the child that day.’ ‘ Can you imagine the difference I could make if that child lived with me?” Can you imagine if they lived in a home, with someone they trust with skills and experience to meet children’s needs and give it 24/7 in my home?” Also, can you imagine what it means 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 are going home, but the kids won’t do this because they don’t know what safe home life is. And how can they find this if they stay where they are? I felt like I had abandoned them as I go back to my home and my family I never see anyway as I am always working.’

Another lady 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, and it becomes a vicious circle; the kids become more frustrated, give up on me and feel I have let them down!’

As a result, I become frustrated because I know there is another way. I need to foster and care for these children at home; I need the confidence in myself to do it.’ Eventually, frustration becomes the motivation for fostering; because they know these children will become very vulnerable, especially as they reach an age where they no longer get state support.

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

Step Down foster carer; enabling children to take each step, one day at a time.

With Step Down foster care, children with complex needs flourish. They move forward with consistent love and care to a life of hope and happiness, it’s the best gift we can give a child, and for these foster carers, it is the best thing they have ever done. However, to be successful, Step Down foster carers need extensive support and training, with specialist support networks to enhance their own experience caring for children. And this is where the Not for Profit Charities excel. You receive 24/7 outstanding support, 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 living in a residential home. Without support from Step Down Foster Carers, Not for Profit Charities and external providers like Social Services, I dread to think what will happen to a child who has no life experience apart from living in an institution. How do children and young people transition to a successful and Independent life with no 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; they need help. And this help is needed now, as Government legislation says that young people aged 16 who were in care don’t have state support; 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&B’s and hotels, which is as it should be. Sadly, they will no longer receive ‘care.’ I’m afraid that’s not right, as 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; and their experience of being in 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 about politics, but on this occasion, I’m going to because financially, our Local Authorities struggle. Did you know the average cost per week for a child placed in a private residential children’s home is £3970.00? This cost equates to a staggering £206,440 per year 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; this subsequently equates 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. Surely there’s something left in the pot; giving children a better future as they leave at 16 years of age? Perhaps shareholders and directors are not aware of the vulnerability of children who relied on them, or is their motivation purely financial?

older child in a blue hooded top looking sad.
Why not put money aside for children’s future?

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

Many care workers are exhausted, and many 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 and 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, which provide emergency food to people in need. 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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Can you foster?The most in-demand types of foster care are Sibling foster carers & Mother & Baby foster carers to keep families together. Most importantly, we need foster carers to support older children and teenagers, and with your help, create better futures.