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December 9th, 2021

Question and Answer Interactive Sessions

The CISS service carer support that FCAV undertook with carers during 2021 made us aware of a set of specific challenges common to many foster carers during the pandemic. This lead the team to initiate a series of carer Q + A sessions for carers, specifically on those issues.

In November, the FCAV hosted a series of four online interactive sessions with carers.

The sessions were designed to be delivered both during the day and during the evening to accommodate as many carer’s needs as possible and all were well attended.

 

The Topics:

 

  1. Surviving Lockdown #6

  • Well-being strategies and support for carers who are finding lockdown challenging.

  • Resources including well-being techniques such as mindfulness / meditation.

 

  1. CIMS: Managing through the Allegation process

  • Learn more about finding support during this process and understanding the system.

  • Resources such as handouts with tips and supports available.

 

  1. Hold My Hand - Supporting sons and daughters of Carers

  • Advice on how carers can support their own biological children through the fostering journey.

  • Resources including handouts.

 

  1. Working Collaboratively with your Care Team

  • Well-being strategies and support for carers who are finding lockdown challenging.

  • Resources including well-being techniques such as mindfulness / meditation.

 

Outcomes and feedback

Carers were engaged and welcomed the opportunity to share stories together and provide information to prospective and/or new carers in the system. Feeling isolated and disconnected was common for all carers who attended, so they appreciated the opportunity for that connection.

There were some remarkable stories from long-term carers who understand the system and have been great advocates for the children in their care.

Carers gave powerful and challenging stories as they navigated placements during COVID. Carers had to home school, manage access visits as well as be in lockdown for 14-day periods with several children all isolating in different rooms in their home.

It was remarkable to hear resilience and positivity in the group and strong connections were formed. Some enduring connections are still in place following the sessions.

Supporting sons and daughters of carers was an important session. A couple of carers commented on the fact that the placement had been a success predominantly because of their biological child and how they interacted with the young person.
It was challenging to hear that little, if any, opportunities have been made for engagement with biological children of foster carers in the past three years. Obviously COVID compounded this gap, however, the lack of forum available for biological children to receive support is an issue that FCAV will pursue.

FCAV will promote this need across agencies and the broader sector to advocate for more focus the needs of biological children of carers.

Managing the allegation process was another very successful session. For some prospective carers it resulted in them have a clearer picture of the process and risk to their employment. In the final session carers stated that they felt this element of the foster care process was “sugar coated’ and they were appreciative of the honest and transparent discussion in the group.

Drawing on the intentions of the group to provide foster carers with a positive forum for sharing and making a difference, was very affirming for the group.

The administrative support for Carer KaFE helped FCAV to provide seamless and successful forums and we intend to do this again in 2022.

 

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