KEEP Standard is a Department of Education-backed training programme developed by the Oregon Social Learning Center and aimed at Foster carers who care for children between 5 and 12 years old. There is a strong emphasis on encouragement, praise and teaching coupled with a planned approach to setting limits on behaviours. The programme lasts 16-weeks and also provides excellent peer-to-peer support.
BwD have completed 4 programmes between March 2014 and July 2015 with Programme 5 starting in September 2015. 34 carers have completed the programmes representing 26 households and 32 children.
Blackburn with Darwen BC has been commended on delivering the first 3 programmes in a 12 month period and, also, involving a foster carer in the delivery of the programme. This has meant that the authority has achieved Accreditation and has become an approved learning centre in a very quick timescale.
The carers have really enjoyed themselves and have promoted the programme to others. There is real evidence of improvements in the behaviours of our children and early indications of greater placement stability (the ultimate goal of the initiative).
Our sustainability programme includes supervising social worker training and foster carer ‘re-fresh’ training twice a year.
The programme is delivered jointly by a foster carer with 6 year’s experience, Mike Wilson, and a Supervising Social Worker, Chris Hardisty.