A significant proportion of children do not experience stability in their care journey; many children experience breakdowns in placements and struggle to form meaningful relationships. There can be unique challenges for children placed with kinship carers, who are sometimes reluctant to accept social work support. This can lead to negative experiences from the perspective of the carer and child.
This innovation project set up clusters (a group of 10 foster carers) around a ‘hub’ home. The hub, led by an experienced foster carer, provides respite support, regular joint planning and short breaks to the carers in the cluster. All of the carers receive shared training and the carers and young people within a cluster meet regularly, engage in activities and get to know and support each other.
The hub empowers families to support each other and overcome problems before they escalate, and offers children a more positive experience of care. The clusters also build links with other families important to the children’s care plans and to resources in the wider community, which can provide them with enhanced opportunities to learn, develop and succeed.
The Fostering Network has secured further funding from the Innovation Programme to work with new partners, as well as testing additional innovations to the model.
Centre for Child and Family Research, Loughborough University