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We understand that the assessment process to become a foster carer can feel long, and at times perhaps overwhelming. We have listened to feedback from applicants, as well as approved foster carers, who feel that they would have benefited from peer support through their assessment and into their first year of fostering. Our mentoring scheme has been set up to provide this peer support from experienced and established foster carers within Nexus Fostering.
We are here to guide and support you through your fostering journey. The questions below will help you understand how we and our mentors do this.
Yes, we set up a mentoring link for all new applicants who are being assessed to foster with Nexus Fostering. For applicants who are already fostering and transferring to the agency, we will match you with an appropriate mentor who relates to your existing fostering experience.
A mentor becomes involved after the midway point of assessment. At your midway meeting, the scheme will be discussed further and one of the scheme coordinators will be in touch shortly afterwards to set up your mentoring link.
Mentors are all foster carers with Nexus Fostering and are selected based on their skills, experience, and a desire to share their knowledge with others who are new to fostering or new to fostering with Nexus Fostering. Your mentor will contact you directly and arrange a mutually suitable time for a virtual meeting of around 45 minutes to 1 hour.
During your session, you might cover topics such as the practicalities and logistics of fostering; how this will work alongside other members of your household (including your own children); and what type of referrals you might receive if you are approved as carers. We ask that your mentor sets up a second meeting towards the end of the assessment process where you may like to talk more about how training and support from the agency works, or what to expect at our fostering panel.
The sessions should be a relaxed and informal opportunity for you to meet with an experienced foster carer and ask questions. We do ask that mentors record a brief summary of the topics they discuss with you so that we have an overview of what type of information and support has been offered, and in the unlikely event of a disagreement between applicant and mentor. In line with our responsibilities to safeguard children and young people, we ask that mentors share any information of a safeguarding nature with us immediately. If an applicant shares any information that is pertinent to their assessment or suitability to foster, we encourage mentors to direct them to their assessor to ensure that information is being shared honestly and transparently.
We provide up to six mentoring sessions in total. Two of these will usually take place in the second half of your fostering assessment. If you are approved as a foster carer with Nexus Fostering, this support continues for your first 12 months of fostering. Sessions will continue virtually and should provide peer support through many of the ‘firsts’ of fostering and as you become more confident in the fostering role. This could be welcoming a child into your home for your first placement or understanding some of the different meetings and processes around the child/ren you are caring for. A mentor might also be a source of information around meeting the training and development standards (TSDS) that all new carers must achieve ahead of their first annual carer review.
The peer mentor is an additional layer of support to the other people involved in your assessment, and post approval. Once you begin fostering, you will be allocated a supervising social worker who will be your main point of contact. Peer support is intended to supplement rather than replace this working relationship.
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