Make a difference to a child’s life – specialist fostering information event

Help turn a child’s life around, develop a career in child care and earn a weekly fee; that is the message from Somerset County Council in the drive to recruit people for a special foster care scheme.

This special scheme, known as Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC), aims to help children in care aged three to twelve who are struggling to deal with the pressures of life and finding it difficult to manage their behaviour, build healthy relationships and get on well in school.

A ‘drop in’ information evening is being held on Wednesday 20 November at the Wessex Hotel in Street between 7 and 9pm, for people to find out more. The information evening is a chance to speak to social workers and see a short presentation at 8pm.

The Foster Carers’ job is to support and nurture a child and work with a team of professionals, including social workers, teaching professionals and psychologists, to track a child’s behaviour and implement behavioural reward systems in the home to help put a child on the right path.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “Foster carers who are committed, patient, skilled and enthusiastic to complete training and join the scheme are exactly the people we need to make a real difference to children who struggle.

“I very much encourage people to come to the information evening to find out more and ask questions about the scheme. It is tried and tested, and offers real hope to those children who so badly need it.”

The County Council is looking for people with experience of child care, a spare room in their home, time to give and a willingness to work with a professional team to help give a child in care a more positive future.

Each placement lasts for around nine to twelve months. The County Council offers full training, round the clock support and a weekly fee.

The scheme is known as Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) and has been a remarkably successful intervention in the USA and in pilot projects with several local authorities across the UK.

Find out more about this and other fostering opportunities, visit: http://www.fosteringinsomerset.org.uk or phone 0800 587 9900.

Penny is an MTFC foster carer in Somerset. She has a background in education and has previously worked in primary education, a children’s music school and the prison service. After providing respite foster care to a child she decided to become one of the first MTFC foster carers in Somerset.

Penny said: “I was attracted to the MTFC scheme because it was a new and different type of foster care and I was excited by the prospect of earning a fee and being treated as a professional.

“I am now five months into my first placement with a young girl and I am really enjoying it. She was very challenging to start with, she struggled to control her behaviour and she would often get angry and run away from home.
“The structure and support of the MTFC scheme has been amazing. She has responded well to the reward charts and incentives and it seems to be really working, she has stopped running away from home and is beginning to control her anger and frustration. She is much calmer and it has been fantastic to see such a positive change in her behaviour.

“The support of the MTFC team is brilliant. We speak on the phone daily and I have regular meetings with the social workers and psychologists. I am treated as one of the team and I feel very well looked after – they provide praise, warmth and encouragement all the time.

“The MTFC scheme is a great type of fostering. If you are interested in really helping a child, take an interest in what makes them tick and want to work with them to help change their behaviour, the MTFC scheme will be great for you. I feel like I have started a new career – the ongoing training is brilliant and I am able to work from home and get paid for doing something I love.”

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