What is Fostering?

Why do children need foster care?

Children and their families can come to the attention of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) for a variety of reasons. Families may need support at times of crisis and trauma and the Child and Family agency will provide support and assistance at these times. Sometimes it is not possible for children to remain living within their own birth families and they must move to an alternative place for their safety, protection and wellbeing.

When it is not possible for a child to live within their birth family the Child and Family Agency will seek an alternative home for the child and this may be with an Oak Lodge foster family.

Oak Lodge Fostering Services offers high quality foster care placements to children whom the Child and Family Agency deem in need of foster care. We offer care to children from new born to eighteen years of age, brothers and sisters and young parents with babies.

Our services focus on meeting the individual needs of children within a nurturing family environment. All our foster carers are recruited, trained and supported to ensure they offer effective care to children and are key members of the team.

The children who are cared for by our agency all need support and guidance to work through the difficulties they are experiencing. They need carers who are sensitive to their early life experiences of abuse, neglect and rejection and the support of the whole team.

All children in our care need;

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    Nurturing Family environments in which to learn and develop.

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    Clear, consistent boundaries which enable them to feel safe and secure

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    To be listened to and heard

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    Practical help and support to develop life skills that will empower them to become independent young adults

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    The range of care services provided by the team to meet all their individual needs.

All our foster carers provide;

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    Family membership – helping children to feel comfortable with belonging to more than one family

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    Sensitivity – helping children to make sense of their thoughts and feelings; to manage their emotions and behaviour

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    Availability – helping children to learn to trust by being emotionally and practically available

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    Acceptance – building children’s self-esteem by accepting and valuing the child for who they are

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    Co-operation – helping children to feel effective and learn that cooperation enables them to make things happen within safe limits

Types of Foster Care

Oak Lodge Fostering Services provides foster care placements that are;

Long Term Placements

We provide long term foster care placements to children and young people who require a permanent alternative home for the duration of their childhood. Oak Lodge Fostering Services recognises that short term placements are often the initial plan for a child whilst reunification options are explored, and long term placements can develop as the child’s care plan changes. Oak Lodge is committed to recruiting foster carers who have the flexibility required to meet the changing needs of children and their plan of care.

Emergency

We provide twenty-four hour availability and support to our foster carers and the children placed with them. Therefore we can accept emergency referrals and make a placement with appropriate carers as available outside of office hours.

Bridging Placements

Bridging placements are sometimes required as part of a longer term care plan for a child. The child may be working with CFA social workers and birth family towards reunification or independent living (dependant on the age of the young person) and require an ‘interim’ placement while this care plan is completed to fruition. Oak Lodge foster carers will work with children, young people and those involved in their care to support and prepare the child for the future in accordance with the agreed care plan.

Short Term Placements

Our foster carers care for children on a short term/time limited basis when this is within the agreed care plan.

Assessment Placements

Assessment placements will be short term placements where an agreed focussed assessment is undertaken by the Oak Lodge foster carers. The carers as part of the team work with CFA colleagues, therapists, psychologists and education professionals to assess the child’s strengths and needs in relation to a specific area of their development. This assessment can contribute to the long term planning for children; help determine the best placement options and the support services needed. A written assessment report will be provided by Oak Lodge Fostering Services.

Solo Placements

We understand that some children who come into the care of our agency have specific complex needs that require a solo placement. This type of placement is required when the needs of the child or young person places high demands on the foster carer because constant adult supervision is required in order to keep everyone safe from harm. The increased level of supervision and individual attention required precludes the placement of any other children with the foster carers.

Parent and Child Placements

Parent and child placements will be available to young mothers (including pregnant young women) and fathers who require support with the parenting task. Foster carers providing these placements will work alongside young parents to assist with the development of parenting skills, helping them learn the skills needed to provide a high standard of care to their child. There may also be an assessment element to this type of placement and Oak Lodge foster carers will work with the young parent and all involved in their care to provide an assessment of the young person’s parenting ability. A written assessment report will be provided by Oak Lodge Fostering Services as required.