5 minutes with…Julian

The community support worker on the importance of mentors, giving back, and listening.

I am a head of the year in a mainstream secondary school and have been doing this for the last thirteen years. Some of the children in the school are in care or have SEN (special education needs). I wanted to gain a deep understanding of where the young people were coming from for my professional development. If I can understand them and their feelings, I could support them.

I was involved in sports as a youngster. I played a lot of basketball and got mentored by world-class coaches. There was also a Headteacher who supported me at school. I learned about dedication, discipline and working hard in my formative years. These experiences inspired me as an adult to share the knowledge they gave me with other young people.

Looking at mental health provision is under my remit in school. I want to understand the behaviours the children were showing. Why is a young person sad or anxious? Some research led me to find out about Progress and a community support worker role. By becoming a support worker, I knew that I would understand how to support young people effectively.

It is important to listen to young people and allow them to talk. I try to find solutions for their problems. There was a pupil (in care) that arrived at school upset. Within half an hour of the start of the first lesson, he was in detention because he had forgotten his PE kit and missed the class. The young person was upset that he had lost the timetable, and the care home he was in knew nothing about this. I contacted his support workers and emailed the timetable to the home. The support workers placed the sheet on his bedroom wall. If the tools are there, a young person can take responsibility for themselves.

The first session with young person in community care is a challenge. You are entering a young person’s life, and they do not want to let go of their home setting or meet anyone new. The key is to listen and engage. Find their interest. For example, I know nothing about gaming. The young person in my care educates me about a game that he is playing. That conversation will lead to other things in life.

I like to give back. I do not want to see people stuck in a rut. If I can support and change a life, I will. I want to think that if I were in the same situation, someone would do the same for me. My coaches, parents, grandparents, friendship group, have all played a part in me being able to give back.

There must be role models for young people. Social media can easily influence young people by having someone look out for them, it can change their lives.

If you want to make difference in the lives of others, visit our recruitment page and apply for a role at Progress today.

What is Skills to Foster?

One of the most frequently asked fostering questions is about the type of support a foster carer will receive.

As a foster carer, we want to ensure you are equipped to manage a child or young person’s behaviour.

Therefore, the Progress Skills to Foster training is our chance to prepare you for the challenges of fostering.

What is Skills to Foster?

Skills to Foster is a two-day mandatory training course that all new applicants must complete before becoming approved as a foster carer.

The course is a flexible resource tool and supports new applicants to:

  • understand the different types of placements
  • understand the child/young person journey through their eyes
  • understand and manage their behaviours.
  • learn the vital skills to meet the day to day needs of fostering.

The course also links into the Training, Support and Development Standards in England, other professional development qualifications, as well as our competency-based assessment process.

Skills to Foster is split into the following seven sessions:

Session 1: What do foster carers do?

This first session will give you an insight into your role as a foster carer and focus on why children/young people come into care, why foster care is needed and, how their early life experiences may have impacted their development.

You will also learn what a child or young person will need from you as their foster carer.

Session 2: Identity and life chances

This session addresses the different factors that shape our identity and the importance of identity to a child/young person in care.

Session 3: Working with others

In session three, we will introduce the Progress team. You will learn who will support you in the needs of the child/young person and how you will be working as part of a team and never in isolation.

Session 4: Understanding and caring for children

This session explores the learnt behaviours that the child/young person may exhibit. You will also understand the concept of attachment and the kinds of attachments children/young people in care may possess. These are key concepts to grasp, so you have a non-judgemental understanding of the different behaviours.

Session 5: Safer caring

This session covers safeguarding and delegated authority and exploring why children/young people in care are particularly vulnerable. The session will also equip you with the skills to assess risk competency, balance risk, and develop responsive and proportionate family safer caring plans.

Session 6: Transitions

Within session six, you will look at the importance of foster carers and their families, supporting a child when moving from one placement to another and young people’s transition to adulthood.

Session 7: My Family Fosters

This session provides specialist materials to use with your birth children to ensure that they feel supported and included within your fostering journey.

We support all out foster carers. To learn more about how we do this please click here

To begin your journey in becoming a foster carer contact us today