Families with a spare room and keen interest in providing a loving home to a child or young person have a unique opportunity to make an amazing difference to the life of a child. With Credo Care, you will welcome a child with additional needs into your home, and will provide them with personal care, learning and emotional support and family home environment instead of a residential or boarding unit. You will be highly supported by a network of friendly Credo Care Staff, carers and other professionals to provide stable, nurturing placements. The needs of children that Credo Care support include physical disabilities, complex medical needs, learning difficulties or autism.
Short term placements can place a child for up to 6 months, and long term placements can mean a child is placed until the age of 18. After their 18th birthday, foster children may have the opportunity to remain with their foster family through a 'Staying put' care-leaver scheme to the age of 21. Some carers choose to 'foster-to-adopt' meaning that they eventually take on all legal and financial responsibility for their child after looking after their child for a significant amount of time.
Ideally people wanting to become specialist foster carers will have previous experience caring for children or adults with disabilities. We have carers from a huge range of backgrounds, including occupational therapists, teaching assistants and nurses, to postmen or full time parents. We consider every enquiry carefully, and will only match children with needs suitable to your skills. For more specific needs, we offer specific bespoke training alongside our typical regular training program. Foster carers will also be required to complete the TSD (Training, Support and Development Standards Course) within their first year.
Respite Carers provide short periods of foster care around other commitments which enables the children to meet new people, develop a sense of community, and for the foster carers to have a break from the needs of the children they look after. Many respite carers start with a view to build up their confidence to foster long term, though many single carers having ongoing respite arrangements with other Credo Children, and have great relationships with other Specialist Foster Carers with Credo Care. It is not uncommon for respite carers to care for the same child over different points of the year, which means that they often have great relationships with the children and the child will look forward to their breaks with them.
Occasionally Respite Carers may also be approached to other looked after children with other agencies or placed with a local authority carers, but this is dependent on referrals to the agency.
Respite care offers a more flexible approach to foster care, being entirely dependent on your own availability. Credo Care Respite Carers also receive all the same training opportunities that long term foster carers do, and often receive specific training related to the needs of children matched to them (including specific medical procedures, communication methods, and manual handling techniques). Respite Carers will also be assigned a dedicated Supervising Social Worker who will be there to discuss anything that might be needed, including on call support, training requests or even just a friendly chat!
Respite carers still must have a spare room at home, as respite care involves overnight stays, typically of periods of 2 days up to 2 weeks. Weekends tend to be the most common periods of respite requested.
Whilst not necessarily being a limiting factor in becoming a long term foster carer, single carers typically opt for becoming respite carers around other flexible part time work.
Nicola decided to become a Respite Carer after having her own child with special needs. She has regularly supported a number of children in her area, and has a great relationship with each and every one.
"Doing respite is fantastic for both me and my children, as we get to care for a number of different children fostered in my area. Each one brings with them different needs, qualties and personalities."
"As a respite carer, I find it brings a lot of satisfaction. I have been a mother to a special needs child, so I understand the importance an positive impacts that it can have for both the child and their families. I see it as a little holiday for the children; we pack in lots of fun, make lots of memories and every child becomes a part of our family. I feel privileged to be able to care for these wonderful, inspiring childrem and to give them a stable, safe and fun break from home. We can never wait for them to come back!"
As well as our specialist foster and respite carers, we also have a fantastic team of freelance support workers who provide occasional supporting hours to Credo Care children. This support is based on need and your availability, and allows our successful, stable foster placements to have regular supportive input from other trained professionals. Support Workers will have opportunites to look after the children in the carer's homes, take the children on fun days out or to supervise them in contact sessions with their birth families. As a support worker, you will be providing outstanding personal care to children and young people with disabilities, learning difficulties and medical needs in a rewarding and varied role - no two days will be the same.
Ideally you will have previous experience caring for children or adults with disabilities, but we carefully consider every application, and match you to children with needs that you will be able to provide for. You must have a desire to provide outstanding care to children with additional needs. Support Workers must be able to compile written records and contribute to regular reports for foster children. As support workers will need to be mobile, a full driving license and access to car is essential.
Tina supports a number of foster children and their carers in her area. The children, from babie to teenagers, have a larger range of additional needs, including mobility issues, medical needs, including tube feeding and tracheotomies, sensory needs and learning difficulties. Tina really enjoys her role, and has managed to turn her part time Support work into a viable, fulfilling career.
"I really enjoy working with children with additional needs. I receive all the training I need to enable me to support the children; helping to enrich their lives and to make a positive difference. The flexibility of the hours works really well for me and it's such a rewarding role."