Carefully matching a child to our carers, their family and their home environment is an essential part of making successful placements which in turn provides security and stability to a foster child.
Ofsted Inspectors have always graded Credo Care’s matching process as a Good element of our service and it is therefore one of which we are very proud. Some years ago we were told that our matching work was used as an example to grade other fostering services against.
Local Authority Social Services send us information about disabled children who are in need of a foster home. We ask our families who have space if they would consider the child, depending upon carers' home circumstances, alongside their skills and experience.
Our Referrals Team share as much information as they can about a referred young person with potential Foster Parent/s. The Initial Matching document is completed by the Registered Manager, who will identify where a need is, or is not, matched to their circumstances. We discuss how you can meet the needs of the child and how they will integrate into your their family, if placed.
If, after full consultation and sharing of information, we all decide to proceed to the next stage, the case will be transferred to the Placements Coordinator arranges a visit to the carers' home by the potential placing Social Worker. An observation visit to the child in their school, home environment or hospital is also planned if possible. Further meetings or visits will be necessary and an Introduction Plan put in place. This will enable the carers to get to know the child and vice versa. A child is usually placed witnin 4 weeks but in some circumstances this is longer, we will pay a holding fee to the carers if we are able to secure one plus expenses.
Throughout the information gathering process, the Placements Coordinator will be gathering information which will assist in the completion of a comprehensive baseline assessment and matching report. This document will not only ensure that all aspects of care can be met thoroughly, but it will also establish a point from which future outcomes for the child can be measured. During the Initial and Further Matching process, all information gathered on the child will be shared with the potential carer/s, and they will be consulted at every stage so that any concerns or questions they may have can be answered as they come up.
If any areas are identified as needing specific training, Credo Care will ensure that a training schedule is put in place for the carers which will need to be completed pre placement or within a reasonable and realistic time frame, ensuring that they then have all the necessary skills to meet the needs of the child. If a child is placed in Hospital, it is most likely that training will take place on the ward over a period of days or weeks prior to the placement going ahead.
The Placements Coordinator will also ensure that any medical or non medical equipment used by the child is transferred to the placement or that relevant professionals in the carers area are aware of the potential placement and therefore it will be supplied locally.
‘About Me’ is another comprehensive document which is completed from information gathered during the matching process and shared wtih the carers before the child is placed. This gives plenty of information about professionals involved in the child’s care, the child’s daily routines, likes and dislikes, essential care guidelines and medication (if appropriate) to ensure that the carers are as aware as possible of the child’s needs when they moves to their new home. This document helps to ensure that the child’s transition from their current placement is made as seamless and calm as possible. This gives the child the best possible chance of settling. The About Me document is updated on a regular basis post placement and it is the responsibility of the carers to ensure that this is done.
A Risk Assessment will be completed between the carers and their Supervising Social Worker, it will identify any risk present at the time of placement, as well as strategies to reduce this risk. The carers will be fully involved in this process as it will be their responsibility to ensure that the recommendations of the Risk Assessment are applied and reviewed.