Step down fostering can make a real difference to the lives of young people. You will be there to help them make that transition from a residential home setting back into a family unit, which we believe is a much better outcome.
Step down fostering, sometimes called ‘residential to fostering’ or ‘step forward fostering’, is when a young person moves from a residential home to go and live with a foster family.
Sometimes a child or young person requires the type of environment that only residential care for children can provide. However, as they receive care and support within the residential environment, they get to the point where they are ready to live in a family environment once more. It is at this point that a fostering placement is sought.
Depending on the individual needs of the young person, they could be placed alongside other cared-for children or young people in the fostering home – or it may be highlighted that they should be placed ‘solo’ (when no other child in care is placed within the fostering household).
As step down fostering involves providing care to a young person who has come directly from a residential home, it is important that the transition to a fostering placement is properly planned, and fully involves the young person in the process.
The first stage will be an introduction meeting involving the young person and foster carer. There will also be meetings with social workers and residential workers to ensure that the needs of the young person are properly communicated and understood by the foster carer.
It is important to remember that the young person will be accustomed to a different environment, with different routines and expectations. They would have also been living with other young people.
As well as day-to-day care, it would also be the role of the foster carer to establish consistent routines and boundaries. Sometimes even therapeutic care may be required.
Another key responsibility for a foster carer would be to work with education professionals to ensure that the young person receives the educational opportunities they are entitled to. As a Step Down foster carer, you will have access to TACT’s Education Service that will provide you with specialist guidance and one-to-one support for you and the young person in your care.
Step down fostering is considered a ‘specialist’ type of foster care – therefore ‘standard’ fees and allowances would not apply to this type of care. Instead, fostering allowances would be enhanced due to the complexities of the placement and any additional costs that may be incurred. The actual allowance you would receive as a foster carer would be agreed between TACT and the local authority, based on the specific needs of the young person.
In addition to the fostering fee, there are also payments for children’s birthdays, holidays and religious festivals. Additionally, we also pay long service awards and a Recommend a Friend fee (if you recommend someone who then goes on to be an approved foster carer with us).
Read more about our ‘standard’ fees and allowances.
All foster carers have access to our comprehensive training programme, but as carers who undertake step down fostering, specialist training is provided to prepare you for caring for young people transitioning from residential care.
Some examples of specific training courses you may undertake are:
Training is delivered remotely and in person, depending on the requirements of the course. You will be allocated a full training programme when you become an approved foster carer – giving you the chance to further enhance your skills.
Read more about our fostering training.
All foster carers at TACT receive our comprehensive support, which includes being allocated your own dedicated Supervising Social Worker and full 24/7 support.
As a foster carer undertaking step down fostering, you will receive additional support in the early stages from the residential home staff team, who will help you understand the specific needs of the young person. There will also be other support resources available such as carer support groups, giving you the opportunity to meet other TACT foster carers and share experiences and knowledge.
Because we reinvest surplus income into providing more support for our fostering households, we are able to go above and beyond and develop innovative support services. Our aim is to ensure that you have plenty of resources around you, should you have a question or need some help or advice.
Read more about our support.
Step down fostering is one of the most rewarding types of foster care because you get to be a part of an important transition for a young person: bringing them back into a family unit. Depending on the young person’s care plan and wishes, you could also be the one preparing them for independent living. Along the way, you will be there to provide them with day-to-day care, helping them with their self-esteem, mental health and general wellbeing.
Why not make a no obligation enquiry today by completing the enquiry form on this page. Our team of enquiry officers will talk you through the process of becoming a foster carer with TACT. We are a charity, so we place no pressure on anyone to apply. Fostering needs to be the right choice for you and your household.