Lisa Whelan, Senior Social Work Manager
presented the Annual Fostering Report and highlighted key
The Chair praised the report and noted that
there was good public presence maintained online and physically to
promote foster caring. The video promoting foster caring entitled
‘There was a Boy’ was of particular
interest and it was noted that it was available on YouTube
The Chair took the opportunity to welcome the
foster carers that had attended the meeting with Vanessa Graham,
Family Support Worker: Laura Bayliss,
Rena Patel and Emma Jane, who were all currently fostering children
and Councillor Martin Waite thanked them for the work they were
doing for children in Wolverhampton.
In response to a query on how successful the
Authority were in identifying cases of Private Fostering and
providing appropriate support, it was stated that the Authority
were wholly reliant on information being received on families
engaged in such arrangements and this didn’t always
The reasons behind families neglecting to
inform the authority of these arrangements were thought to be that
there could a perceived stigma attached to a child being taken into
care or a family’s reluctance to involve a social worker, but
the main factor was thought to be a general lack of awareness that
private fostering needed to be reported in
order to access available support.
It was noted that an annual report had been
presented to the Safeguarding Board and an action plan around
communications was in place to help raise this awareness, which
involved a Private Fostering Week promotional event and working
with schools and general practitioners, to try and reach out to
anyone caring for a child.
It was asked of the foster carers what
inspired them to become a foster carer and what barriers they
Two of the foster carers already worked with children, including
children with additional needs, and had been attracted to foster
One carer had been hesitant at first as her concern was that a
single person couldn’t become a carer but once it was
discovered this wasn’t the case, she pursued that career
The experience was that the timescale of six months was an ideal
length for the process to take as it gave time to prepare and
‘filtered’ out over time those who were unprepared for
what foster caring really entailed.
Many challenges were identified, including challenging behaviour,
however training and parent to parent support were available.
Following a training course, one carer gained a better
understanding of what was driving challenging behaviour and
experienced a significant behavioural improvement as a result.
The Supervising Social Workers were reported to be very supportive
in difficult situations and it was highlighted it was important to
make it known they were available for help and to encourage carers
to seek help when needed.
The Mockingbird Model was clarified as a
foster caring initiative that had begun in the US but was now
licensed for use in the UK. Clusters of foster homes known as
view the full minutes text for item 7.