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Virtual reality helping foster carers see through eyes of children in care

Norfolk County Council, 27 October 2023 00:00

Foster carers in Norfolk are being trained using virtual reality to help them gain an even better understanding of the lives of the children they care for.

Norfolk County Council has invested in the headsets as part of the increased training and support offer to foster carers introduced in the last year.

It's one of the measures to support foster carers and children in care, which outlined in a report being presented to the council's Cabinet next month.

Cabinet will hear details of the performance of the council's fostering service over the last year, including the work to support, recruit and retain foster carers.

The virtual reality headsets are just one approach being used to help carers understand the trauma and needs of the children they support.

The immersive films place carers in the child's shoes, showing what they have been through and how this has affected them. It means foster carer can see things from the child's perspective.

The sets are used in carers' support groups, as well as individual sessions. They help carers understand brain development, the impact of trauma and the experience of children who have autism.

Cllr Penny Carpenter, Cabinet Member for Children's Services at Norfolk County Council, said: "Foster carers offer love, care and empathy to some of our most vulnerable children, which is why it's so important that we give them all of the training and support they need to really understand the experiences of the children they look after.

"The virtual reality training is just one of the ways we're helping to support relationships between carers and their children and young people. We also have specialist teams offering therapy, one to one and group support. We know that fostering is both a rewarding and challenging experience and we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to support our carers, so that they can provide the best care for our children."

The report, being presented to Cabinet on Monday, 6 November details the ongoing pressures all local authorities are facing in recruiting and retaining foster carers.

Norfolk County Council recently made fostering recruitment a corporate priority and has just been selected by the Department for Education to be a regional lead for the Fostering Recruitment and Retention Pathfinder Programme.

Anyone interested in fostering can visit or call 01603 306649.

Cabinet will consider the report when it meets at 10am on Monday, 6 November. You can watch the meeting, live or afterwards and read the reports online.

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:46

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