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Park Foster Care helping carers to help children

Park Foster Care LogoThe demand for foster carers in England and Wales is at an all-time high, with over 40,000 children in need of a foster home.

Some children go to live in foster care for a short period of time whilst others need a home for a longer period. There are children who cannot live with their parents and will be moved from the foster carer’s home to adoptive families. Usually when children come to live in foster care, they do not forget about their parents and extended family. In some cases Foster Carers are likely to have contact with birth parents and other family members as well as a number of professionals involved in the child’s life – doctors, teachers, social workers.

Park Foster Care | Join the TeamThere are all sorts of reasons why children need to be placed with a Foster Carer. There are also various ways to help these children, to understand their needs and to provide safe and nurturing environments for them.

Park Foster Care, an independent fostering agency based in Cheshire, has devised and implemented its own unique fostering course called the ‘Park Parenting Approach’. Philippa Kelly, Learning and Development Manager for Park Foster Care explains: “This course was established as part of a research project run by myself and overseen by Kings College London. The idea is to replicate a secure family model within the fostering environment.”

The course is attended by all carers and is delivered in 2 hourly sessions over 9 weeks. It includes topics such as

1 Emotional behaviours
2 Motivated behaviours
3 Guilt & shame
4 Children’s defence mechanisms and coping strategies

In its discussion of strategies to help dealing with certain behaviours, the course considers the use of:

• Positive praise
• Rewarding positive behaviours
• Reframing negative behaviours
• Conflict reduction
• Use of Family conference
• ‘Permission’ for carers to make mistakes and to learn by reflection

In addition to the educational elements, Foster Carers are encouraged to share past experiences and discuss concerns they have about children in their care. Philippa continues: “Each foster carer has a named supervising social worker, who offers support on a regular basis. There is also provision for Foster Carers to have individual support from the learning and development manager, who would help them to understand how previous experiences have affected children emotionally, socially and physically, also allowing Foster Carers the space to express their own feelings. Also, there are monthly reflective sessions, parenting forums and support groups for foster carers to attend; this helps them to share their knowledge with fellow carers and seek support from each other. “

Fostering is both demanding and rewarding. If you would like to explore the possibility of becoming a foster carer with Park Foster Care, please contact the recruitment team on 0800 169 4552, text ‘FOSTER’ to 60777 for more information or visit

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