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The Fostering Relations Carer Forum – Story Told by Bryan Ritchie, Registered Manager

Startup Stock Photos

“The Fostering Relations carer forum started as a way of drawing our carers into conversations regarding planning processes for the agency. It allowed for a wider and more informed debate about issues that would affect both carers, children and staff. Since 2013 the forum has experienced numerous changes both in terms of remit and also members. It is open to any of our carers to join and once a part of the forum they can remain for 3 years.

The carer forum meets 3 times a year and has an informal discussion over lunch. We set an agenda in advance which is developed by both carers and staff. The carers that are a part of our forum are not representative of our carer group in terms of having been elected, however, they do represent them in terms of knowledge and experience. Their insight means we cover a great deal of topics, from training programmes for the coming year to the venue for the summer fun day! As carers, they have a unique insight into things. We feel we would be missing a trick to not have their input.

We have made many changes to both policy and practice over the last few years including new processes around respite provision and a new assessment pack to accompany this development. We hope to continue to grow the carer forum and consolidate it as part of the permanent fixture of consultation and participation within the agency.

As Registered Manager, the carer forum allows me to speak to carers and discuss the choices and challenges facing us all. It’s important to remember that many of our carers bring a lifetime of experience to the table, having previously worked within an industry, commerce, teaching or nursing. As such, they are an invaluable resource to me in terms of running the Agency.”

One of our carer forum members gave their point of view on being part of the group…

“I was happy to recognise that many of our agency members play and have played a very active part within the agency and it was “my turn”.
I enjoy being part of this group because I believe the current members share a common passion, to work towards the greater good, for the children we look after as well as our fellow foster carers and staff alike”