Foster Carer training programme (February 2014)

Southampton City Council

The Need

Southampton City Council have used KCA in a number of ways since November 2011 to support learning and development within the fostering and adoption service.

There is great diversity within the Southampton foster carer population not only in terms of cultural and academic backgrounds, but also in terms of learning needs. In times of budget constraints, it has been important to identify and provide training that can be responsive to this diversity.

Southampton has a well-established tiered payment structure for foster carers. Equipping top-tiered carers with the skills and knowledge they need to work confidently and competently with the most complex cases was identified as a further need.

E-learning has been part of foster carer training provision for several years. The team were also keen to find out about KCA e-learning provision and the added benefits this could bring to learning and development for foster carers.

The Solutions

KCA were commissioned to deliver a range of face-to-face training events to foster carers and fostering social work staff, to include:

  • Attachment and self-regulation
  • Placement endings
  • Safer caring
  • Assessing and managing risk
  • The neuroscience of resilience

With the possibility for web-based mentoring and portfolio building, Southampton City purchased 250 course places on KCA Online, providing access to the growing range of short web-based courses (each representing around ten hours of CPD).

The Outcomes

Since November 2011 KCA has delivered face-to-face training in Southampton twelve times with ten of these events having been commissioned by the fostering and adoption service. These events have in the main been run as large seminar-style training days for up to 80 people.

Of the participants who provided feedback for each course, 100% indicated that they would recommend the training to others.

The e-learning started to roll out in September 2013. To date, 67 learners have been set up and 84 courses have been allocated, with 29 having been completed. To further support their carers, Southampton were keen to be an early adopter of the mentoring facility within KCA Online. So far, 27 mentors have been set up (mainly Supervising Social Workers) to monitor learner's progress and provide feedback and assistance when required.

Feedback received from learners so far includes:

"It will be the cornerstone of understanding some of the children that come into my care."

"I will use what I have learned when taking new fostering placements as it will aid me in understanding why children do things, it will aid me in understanding what the missed needs are, and then how to fill that need via therapeutic reparenting."

Customer Response

"KCA is a leading provider of training on attachment, trauma and resilience. Within fostering it is essential that skills and knowledge development is rooted in this theory base. As neuroscience makes new discoveries that shed new light on human development and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable, KCA are highly effective at incorporating this new understanding into training and making it accessible and practicable for the workforce with a combination of both face-to-face and online training to meet the individual needs of our foster carers. Their commitment to helping practitioners embed learning in their work and to be truly reflective is captured in their offer of connected learning.

As a commissioner I find KCA to be responsive both to our organisational needs and to the needs of individuals. For example I got in touch with KCA seeking a Level 4 qualification for our most experienced carers. It was important that this developed reflective practice and provided a particular focus on work in therapeutic reparenting. From this brief KCA have worked with us and the Awarding Body to develop a programme of direct face-to-face training, online learning and consultancy in an innovative approach that we believe will engage with carers and improve outcomes whilst providing the carers with an iQ Level 4 Certificate in Therapeutic Reparenting.

I would happily recommend KCA to anyone working with vulnerable children and young people."

Angela Seymour - Senior Practitioner - Training & Private Fostering

Next Steps

In Spring 2014, KCA, working with the Awarding Body, iQ, and consulting with SCC, developed a Level 4 Certificate in Working with Traumatised Children and Young People. This qualification demands a blend of face-to-face training, online learning and consultancy. It delivers the knowledge and skills development required for top-tier foster carers to reparent therapeutically.

Having agreed the structure, delivery modes and content, the first cohort of twenty carers will begin the requisite training in September 2014, with the expectation of completion within a year. Further cohorts of twenty carers will be registered annually.

Southampton Foster Carer Case Study

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