Supervising Social Workers in supporting Foster Carers

The role of the Supervising Social Worker in supporting Foster Carers is central to assuring the quality of care given to children and young people in foster care. This course will address the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of Supervising Social Workers to address this.

Supervising Social Workers requires the appropriate knowledge of the National Minimum Standards for foster care. Particularly relevant are the standards related to securing and promoting the welfare of children and young people in their care, including the requirement to value diversity. Also relevant in terms of knowledge are the Training, Support & Development Standards for Foster Carers, including the timescales and methods for achieving evidence that standards have been met.

The skills of the Supervising Social Worker in assuring quality in foster care entail being able to promote the development of good practice, while monitoring it against national minimum standards. The ability to set goals for development of foster carers, and also monitoring practice through identifying and eliciting feedback from a range of sources is essential in this respect.

The capacity to form and promote good working relations with Foster Carer, and Social Worker for the child depend upon a range of skills which can be encapsulated in the GROW model of coaching. This includes goal setting, use of questioning techniques and active listening in a range of forums including supervision sessions, annual review, and disruption meetings. Information from such forums is important in recognising the strengths of foster carers and contributes towards decisions by supervising social workers in allocation of work.

An attitude of child centeredness is also essential for Supervising Social workers to be able to integrate into the practice of foster carers. A rights based approach to such practice incorporating the key provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child will be promoted in this course.

The learning objectives:

By the end of this course learners should understand:

• The role of supervising social workers within the context of the National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services and their role in promoting quality
• The importance of promoting and maintaining a child centered approach
• Their role in gathering information relevant to allocation of work, monitoring and reviewing performance and in dealing with disruptions
• Explore ways of responding to concerns about the quality of care
• Ways of supporting carers within a supervisory relationship
• Their key responsibility around supporting foster carers in achieving the Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care.

Learning methods:

• Word Shower
• Tutor presentations
• Handouts
• Small group work
• Quiz
• PowerPoint
• Group Discussion

National Occupational Standards in Social Work: