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What will happen when you make an enquiry with us

Daniel Kenny FWNE lead

Hello,

I'm Daniel Kenny, the service lead for Foster with North East. I'm responsible for establishing the Foster with North East regional support offer for new and transferring foster carers. I know that applying to be a foster carer can be daunting and prospective foster carers don't often know what to expect, so here I want to tell you all about our dedicated fostering support hub and what happens when you make an enquiry with us.

About your Foster with North East hub team

Together for Children Sunderland are the lead local authority for the Foster with North East project which has brought 12 local authorities together for the first time ever to recruit and support prospective foster carers in the North East of England. Foster with North East is based within Together for Children at the Sandhill Centre in the centre of Sunderland. We have a core team of five staff members, including three Fostering social workers, an assistant social worker, and a data analysis assistant. There are also many other team members who work as an extension of the project, but the core team responds to enquiries from across the region.

We're here to ensure that foster care recruitment and applicants are made a priority and are given the warmest of welcomes. When we thought about how the support hub would work, we spent a lot of time considering how we could add value to the current foster care recruitment processes that are in place for our 12 different local authority partners and for us a priority was making sure that when someone picks up the phone and calls us, they will speak to an experienced foster care Fostering social worker.

When you get in touch with us you will receive a very warm welcome and a team who will work with you at a pace you're comfortable. Sometimes, people prospective foster carers are unsure about what they want to ask, other times people come to us with a list. No matter the approach, we make sure that we're ready and available to answer any query you have.

When you call us, you'll speak to a specialist fostering social worker

Foster with North East hub staff are experienced fostering social workers. They've worked in the world of foster care, so they have in-depth knowledge of fostering and the approval process so they can help answer your questions and support you.

As you start to progress through your foster care recruitment journey, the hub staff understand the worries, queries or anxieties that you might have as they've previously supported many people through the same journey. Our hub team has also supported foster carers for many years through ongoing supervision and training so their knowledge, insight and understanding is invaluable. Our team members also come from different local authorities across the North East, which gives the team a regional voice and perspective.

How we help potential and transferring foster carers

 The majority of enquiries come through to us via our online enquiry form, but others prefer to phone call us instead to find out more and speak to one of our team instantly. Either way we're happy to support and we understand that people will be at different stages in their thought process and level of interest so we work with enquirers to advise. 

Some people might already be foster carers with other regional agencies and wish to transfer to their home local authority. They are often ahead of the game and might know exactly what they want to do.

With new prospective foster carers who are ready to apply, we spend time helping them understand what the process looks like, how long it takes, what assessment feels like. We also answer questions like 'will I be paid?' We also get questions about prospective foster carers' specific circumstances and whether their circumstances could be barriers to becoming a foster carer. Find out more on our Transferring to us pages.

We're here to support you throughout the approval process

Some people will be ready to proceed on that first call. But others won't and have queries which we will answer and stay in touch; there's no rush. We know deciding to take the next step takes reflection and consideration for you and your family. It's up to you how quickly you want to go. Once information is passed over to local authorities, we'd expect things to continue at your pace as the process is very carer-led.

You can chat with experienced foster carers and be matched with a buddy!

In addition to working with our hub team and your local authority social worker, we have a whole host of experienced foster carers who offer support as an extension of the hub.  We can link applicants up with professional carers for a chat, and we also have a fostering buddy scheme so at various stages of your application you can speak to others to help understand what being a carer is like and they can answer any questions you might have.

We match prospective foster carers with experienced carers who we think would click well together and we're already hearing from applicants about how useful it is for them to chat with some of the excellent foster carers we already have in the North East.

We want prospective foster carers to feel supported because they're very much wanted and needed. We understand that the application process can, at times, feel isolating. But with Foster with North East, you'll have lots of listening ears and helping hands to welcome you into the fostering community. You'll have a team around you who can offer advice from experience of different perspectives.

Staying in touch

We'll continue to check in with you during those early stages and until the local authority picks up the assessment. We'll call you on at least two occasions during that assessment process, and you'll also have your buddy foster carer for extra support.  We're also still a phone call or email away should you wish to contact us.

You don't need to be ready to apply to receive support

We're here, we're welcoming, we're open! There's no such thing as a daft question; we are here to support you. Our website has lots of information, but it can't cover every scenario, so please contact our team if you have any questions. We'll do our best to answer your queries and have those conversations with you on subjects you need to explore. If you enquire online during hub opening hours, we'll get back to you the same day.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the work we're doing at Foster with North East. 6,000 children and young people across our region are in care, but we only have 1,500 foster carers - The Foster with North East hub team is ready and waiting to help you share your home to shape their future.

Thanks for reading and we look forward to speaking to you soon,

Daniel Kenny

Find out more

To find out more about sharing your home to shape the future of children in the North East Enquire now - Foster with North East or call us on 0800 917 7771.