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Competence development for carers and educators of children in foster care in the context of trainsition from institutional to community based care
2021. 04. 11
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Counselling for foster parents

Counselling for foster parents


Target group addressed
  • Foster parents

Priority area addressed

Province of Styria

Country of origin
Province of Styria

Level
  • Regional

Type of training
  • Other,

Brief description

The orientation afternoon is intended for all those who consider adoption, foster care or family pedagogic care. The service wants to support decision-making with regard to which of the before-mentioned forms of support fit best with the own possibilities and motives; it wants to help making an informed decision on the personal follow-up steps.

This preparatory seminar should provide future caregivers with the opportunity to deal with their own family and biographical background, to identify strengths and weaknesses as a person/partner/family with or without children of their own and to bring that in line with the foster children's needs. The world of children and the reasons which may lead to out-of-home care are discussed. Experienced caregivers provide an insight into their lives as foster families.

For Styrian foster families, there are three social security models; some of them include a commitment for further training. However, our seminars are also open to all foster parents without training obligation!
Alternative 1: 24 hours of obligatory training per year
Alternatives 2 & 3: Training obligation following first-time offering care for two years (12 hours of training and 12 hours of foster parents' group)
Foster parents not included in these models (also expectant foster parents) are welcome!  
Attending trainings and groups can be credited within the employment relationship. If they apply for assumption of special costs with the authorities before attending the training foster parents are reimbursed with € 150.00 by the authorities in charge of supervising foster care.


Main achievements

Training of the trainers:

Clinical and health psychologists and educators with experience in working with children and young people with special needs and in psychosocial counselling with adults, social workers, psychotherapists, supervisors, kindergarten and nursery teachers,

Educational researchers, social educators, midwives

Systemic coaches and social managers with experience in parental counselling

Effectiveness
It is the aim to make and keep foster parents able to reflect in order to be able to adopt a child with her/his own history and her/his biological family and to give her/him a good place to live.

 

* Joy of living with children, empathy and patience

* Openness and tolerance

* Safe conditions

* Personal reliability

* Physical and mental health and resilience

* Willingness to cooperate with the youth welfare office and the biological parents

 

Methods:

Support of foster families

In order to achieve the greatest possible stability of the foster care relations, systematic support is important to be offered to the foster parents with their often challenging activities. Since May 2012, all Styrian foster families are mandatory supervised by the ‘ARGE Sozialversicherungsrechtliche Absicherung für Pflegefamilien’. Foster family support provides an opportunity for reflection and counselling for foster parents to discuss issues that arise from the family's everyday life in a respectful atmosphere. It offers relief and the possibility to talk for the foster parents and can refer to the entire family. That way, problems can be identified early, cooperation can be improved and foster families can be supported in difficult situations.

 

Foster parents' groups

We offer regular meetings, so-called ‘foster parents' groups’ to all foster parents in the Province of Styria. That way, foster parents have the opportunity to directly and informally meet with other foster parents in their area to share experiences and to get practical advice and support. It is often helpful to meet like-minded people and talk about similar experiences.

The foster parents' groups are moderated by a group counsellor who is bound by an obligation of confidentiality.

 

Moderated visiting contacts

There can always be difficulties and conflicts when foster child, biological parents and foster parents meet. Often, the parties' interests are quite different and need to be balanced.

Moderated visiting contacts want to provide the foster child with the possibility to experience the contact with her/his biological family as being as free from tension, anxiety and conflict as possible.

The moderators organise, plan, arrange, and accompany the visits. Experience shows that, often, a safer framework for the contact can be created solely by the presence of the moderator. Other important components are brief and debrief of the visiting contacts with children, biological parents and foster parents.

Moderated visits are carried out by experienced professionals; they usually take place at neutral venues.

 

Psychological treatment

The psychological treatment is aimed at children who live with foster parents; it is offered by clinical and health psychologists. Foster children's developmental and behavioural problems may be the result of experienced neglect, violence and/or abuse. The experienced separation from their parents is also an important factor. Abnormalities are often experienced as very stressful by children and foster parents.

Evaluation


Related documentation

http://www.pflegefamilie.at/images/Fortbildung/ProgrammFolder2015.pdf

Contact / Information

Name: Pflegeelternverein Steiermark/Jugend am Werk

E-Mail address: www.pflegefamilie.at

Address (work): Schillerstr.19,8570 Voitsberg

Country: Styria

Telephone: +43 (0) 316/822 433 - 05079004512

Key words
educator, foster family, training, education, counselling, support
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