GLF is an independent fostering agency that was founded in 1998. We are one of the top fostering agencies because we place a strong emphasis on offering a genuine 24 hour support system to our foster carers, relevant training and competitive financial packages to reward your dedication and commitment to children in your care. We are a friendly team who promotes an active fostering community amongst its staff and carers by running regular annual events, including holidays to France.
24 hour support
Taking care of foster children can at times be challenging so it is important to us that you never feel isolated or left to cope on your own, so when we say we provide 24 hour support we mean it.
You will be assigned an assessor once you start the process of applying to become a foster carer with us. You will then be assigned a permanent supervisor once you are approved. Your supervisor helps to place children with you who are most suited to your family and supports you throughout the time that child lives with you, whether that be for days or years. They will help you to be the child’s advocate on day-to-day issues as well as when problems arise, and will work with you to foster the child’s cultural and religious identity as well as accessing services they might need such as specialist health and school amenities.
Unlike some fostering agencies which only provide an impersonal duty system outside of normal working hours, your own supervisor will be there to help in any emergency whatever the time of day. We have a structured out of hours system in place so that if you cannot get hold of your own supervisor, you will be able to get hold of another member of the GLF team. We also schedule monthly visits to your home so you can tell us how it is going and seek our advice on any issues that have arisen. If you need to see us more often than once a month, that can easily be arranged.
GLF encourages its carers to view fostering as a profession. As such we offer a comprehensive training programme to help create professional skills which cover all aspects of the day-to-day realities of caring for a foster child.
You will be asked to undertake a three-day training course while you are being assessed as a potential foster carer that covers the basic skills needed to be a foster carer (Skills To Foster). Once you have been approved you will need to attend another three day training course (Induction) which covers issues such as how to ensure your home is safe, record keeping and finances for instance. These training courses will also help you to achieve the standards which the government requires. These standards are set by the Children’s Workforce and Development Council (CWDC). You have to complete this within one year of being approved as a foster carer but no need to worry, your supervisor and the GLF team will help you every step of the way.
Every month we run training sessions on specific topics of interest such as first aid, healthy eating, managing challenging behaviour and helping children move on. We’ve also recently started a new 12 week training course called ‘Fostering changes’. Originally developed by psychologists from King’s College, University of London, the course teaches behaviour management strategies for foster children who have experienced disruption and trauma in their lives. This course is proving very popular amongst our carers.
We also help advise and support carers who wish to further their professional development by undertaking an NVQ or any other relevant courses of interest.
Fun events throughout the year
GLF likes to create a sense of community amongst its network of foster carers and children so that no one feels isolated or left to cope alone. We place lots of emphasis on arranging fun events throughout the year to which the whole family is invited. Last year’s events were very popular and included trips to Southend, camping breaks, Christmas pantomimes and end of year parties for both adults and children. Life-long friendships have sprung up from attending these events as well as informal carer support groups which are set up and run by foster carers who met at our events. Last year we also set up a children’s council to help us ensure that we’re listening to children. We value every child’s opinion and this council helps us hear their views on the subjects that matter to them. We finish these discussions with a fun activity like bowling or go-karting.
We also produce quarterly newsletters which include photos of our recent events, introduce foster carers that are new to our network and help you get in touch with any that are in your local area. The newsletters also keep you updated on any agency news as well as changes to general fostering practices.
We don’t recommend relying on fostering for a steady income as we cannot guarantee you will always have foster children staying with you. However we feel it is important that carers find fostering both emotionally and financially rewarding. We offer competitive weekly payments for each child you have staying with you. These payments are to cover the extra cost of caring for a child as well as to provide the carer with a financial reward in recognition of the work they do.
In addition, we operate a bonus scheme which sees carers receive an extra week’s payment for every six months of fostering they do. Many of our carers use this payment towards a holiday for their family, for example.