Our recruitment procedures, initial and ongoing training and programmes, supervision and support are central to the organisation. In addition we provide a comprehensive package to all carers in order to enable them to undertake what we appreciate can be a very challenging task. Our carers are viewed as fellow professionals whose opinions are important and will always be sought and taken into account.
Fostering with us means that you will join a team of highly experienced professionals who have worked in the sector for many years and been at the forefront of developing a methodology that supports not only the young person but also the adults around them thus ensuring that we have highly successful outcomes.
Fostering is a professional occupation and the package of preparation, training and support maintained by Three Circles strives to ensure that every effort is made to recognise our carers as such.
We see our foster carers as the lynch pin of the organisation and have determined to provide them with a high quality service enabling them to meet the exacting standards set by Three Circles, Local Authorities and as prescribed by legislation. This is supported by the stringent processes we employ when working with colleagues in local authorities to ensure appropriate matching for all new placements.
We believe the package we offer for children/young people is second to none and that, in order to maintain that standard, we provide carers with a comprehensive programme of ongoing professional development training.
In addition to high levels of financial, professional and emotional support each foster carer has their own dedicated supervising social worker. The supervising social worker will contact them, either by phone or in person, on a weekly basis to ensure that any issues are either pre-empted or dealt with swiftly as they occur. In addition foster carers have monthly supervision sessions in order to review placement plans, ensure that targets are appropriate and being met, discuss and recognise progress, plan for professional meetings, reviews etc and to discuss carer's individual professional development.
Three Circles carers and children are further supported by teachers and other education staff from NT&AS. Education support is seen by Three Circles as a pivotal component which significantly contributes to ensuring stable and successful placements.
The individual opinions and experiences of foster carers, in relation to the children and young people they are caring for, are seen as central to any plan and careful consideration will always be given to the inclusion of their information in review reports etc.
We actively encourage contact between carers to provide peer support and enable those new to fostering to benefit from the experience of others. Carers meet regularly at both local and general training events and also at carer support group meetings.
At Three Circles we see everyone within the fostering family as having a vital role to play. Everyone is involved in the task, to the level they feel comfortable with, and we have developed appropriate training and information sharing opportunities available to all.
We see team work and meaningful, secure communication as being central to our success and the organisation strives to ensure that our professional practice will always underpin this.
At Three Circles we aim to recruit a diverse group of carers, with the energy, commitment and capacity to develop their professional careers whilst furnishing Local Authorities with a variety of placements where the needs of any child/young person can be met.
Starting the process is easy and only involves a telephone call to ourselves where you can gather information informally and arrange for somebody from Three Circles to visit you at home and discuss the process further.Following enquiry prospective foster carers will be asked to provide basic information. If appropriate they will then be provided with a pack giving them further information about the Agency and the overall process of becoming a carer.
Following initial assessment of the suitability of their personal and family circumstances candidates proceed to an intensive training course including Skills to Foster and an Education Awareness package. Statutory checks are carried out early in the process, including DBS screening, medical examination, local authority checks, NSPCC checks, home health & safety inspections and the taking of personal references as well as any references relevant to previous work with children.
Following successful completion of training, and receipt of checks, applicants may proceed to the next stage which involves the allocation of an assessing social worker to undertake an extensive competence based assessment (Form F). The report summarises information about you and your family's personal backgrounds and the strengths you have, areas where you will require support and the number, age range and gender of children you will be suitable to foster. You will be fully involved in completing this report and will be asked to sign it on completion. You will, therefore, have the opportunity to alter or disagree with anything that has been written.
During the assessing social worker's visits, they will talk about the skills and qualities a foster carer needs and they will also discuss the particular needs of children who are fostered. The assessing social worker will help you to identify appropriate information to evidence the skills you have, known as 'competencies'.
As part of the assessment the social worker will need to visit at least two personal referees (who are not relatives) and meet with any birth children who are not living with you and any ex-partners with whom you have had a significant relationship, e.g. parents of birth children.
Once the Form F report has been completed and references have been collected, the information will be presented to a Three Circles Panel who will decide whether to approve you as a carer. You will be invited to attend this Panel.
If you are approved, we will send you a letter and contract confirming your approval category, i.e. the number and ages of children you can foster. Your approval will be reviewed annually, or whenever there is a significant change in your personal circumstances. The Form F report is then used to share information with Local Authority Social Services Departments wanting to place children with Three Circles.
All carers within Three Circles will be valued equally, and all will enjoy the same entitlements and benefits in respect of the payment of allowances and maintenance fees.
Payments to foster carers will be all-inclusive of allowances and will not be dependent on individual carers having to make, or justify, further claims for basic entitlements, with the exception of car mileage claims.
In addition to the routine care provided by foster carers to their foster children the specific annual allowances included as part of the weekly fee are as follows:-
All Three Circles approved carers will get private health care cover 18 months after they have had their first placement. This will not include back-up carers. The agency will meet the cost of premiums for approved carers. Where carers wish their (non-approved) partners or own children within the same scheme, they will be responsible for meeting the full cost of associated premiums.
All carers are expected to have their own household contents insurance policies. Three Circles has arranged additional cover in the event of carers' own insurers failing to meet the full costs of damage/breakages etc.
Foster carers will be able to claim car mileage costs at 40p per mile, for the following:-
The respite part of your allowance is already included within your weekly payments.
Carers are self-employed and are therefore responsible for their own tax liabilities. We advise that each foster carer take advice regarding their taxation, as tax allowances and payments relate very much to personal circumstances.
Three Circles considers education to be central to the success of fostering placements and the raising of educational achievements for young people in care.
It is an unfortunate fact that many looked after children experience disruption of their education through placement moves. They also make up a disproportionate number of children who are temporarily or permanently excluded from school. This not only affects their academic achievement, but contributes to them becoming socially excluded and places them at greater risk of engaging in activities which may be detrimental to their health and future well being.
At Three Circles we understand that access to a good education has a direct impact on a child's well being, including a sense of self worth and self confidence. It can enable integration within a social network and encourage a sense of being a valued member of the community, as well as helping to establish positive peer relationships.
Lack of detailed and quantitative educational assessment may lead to some children's gifts and strengths not being recognised. The same lack of consistent assessment may also lead to a failure to recognise a child's learning difficulties.
Three Circles ensures that every child placed, regardless of age, ability, special needs or specific learning difficulties, has an allocated teacher from NT&AS who works closely with the child, their foster carers and all other relevant professionals, in order to promote education success.
NT&AS has wide ranging experience in assessing educational needs, teaching and learning, raising attainment and supporting progression to achieving external qualifications. They are successful in identifying and maintaining school placements, screening for specific difficulties and boosting attainment by working with children/young people, carers, social workers, children's and young people's services and schools.
The allocated teacher assesses education achievement on placement and, if necessary, will coordinate the identification and accessing of an appropriate school place. They will provide direct support during introduction and inclusion, monitor the child's progress and offer practical support in relation to schoolwork, homework and exam preparation. NT&AS teachers are also able to resolve issues around education funding and to provide support should any difficulties arise in school.
We have an excellent series of training at Three Circles. For specific details about the training provided please get in touch.
From our recent Ofsted report:
'Carer state that the supervision and support provided by the agency is 'fantastic'. They are also extremely positive about the training they receive, which they describe as 'excellent'.
Three Circles is committed to providing the highest level of foster care and services to children and young people, their foster families and the responsible authorities.
Three Circles supervising social workers continually discuss and review the progress of the children and young people, and liaise closely with local authority social workers and other relevant professionals where necessary. Our programme of training is extensive and suited to all learning styles.
We have established procedures to respond to complaints effectively and to watch for the welfare of children through well developed Child Protection and Safeguarding procedures. The views and comments of the children and young people are sought and respected. Any complaints received are immediately investigated and acted upon. We also liaise closely with the Safeguarding Boards of our Local Authority customers, as well as other agencies where necessary.
For foster parents
Our programme of training for foster parents is extensive and suited to all learning styles. We continuously strive to source new courses and keep up with developments.