Being a foster carer can sometimes be challenging but when you notice that you are making a difference, no matter how small, it can be so rewarding.
Fostering is different to raising your own children. Each child will express their feelings differently, but many children become distrustful of adults because of their past experiences of adults who have let them down, failed to keep them safe and, in some cases, have deliberately harmed them. Children may feel unwanted and unloved and foster carers need a great deal of patience and flexibility to help children build their self-esteem and to help them make sense of their past.
There are over 60,000 children in foster care across the UK and this number has increased gradually over the last few years. Children and young people come into fostering at all ages from birth up to 17 but most are in the 10 to 17 age bracket.
Some children and young people need to live in foster care for a short period of time whilst others need a home for a longer period. Some children cannot return home to live with their parents and they move from the foster carer’s home to adoptive families.
Our approved foster carers provide a safe place and the support that these children and young people need to thrive, whatever situation they have come from. Foster carers take a close interest in the lives of the children and young people placed with them, setting appropriate boundaries, teaching them how to behave whilst understanding and appreciating that each child and young person are different and unique.
When children and young people have to live in foster care, they do not forget about their parents and extended family. Foster carers are likely to have contact with their birth parents and extended family members whilst a child is in placement with them. As a foster carer you will also have contact with a number of professionals involved in the child’s life e.g. social workers, GPs and teachers.
If you want to know more or if you’re still unsure about foster care and what it is, please give us a call for some free advice, we will be happy to talk with you.
The most important thing is for a child to feel safe. A foster home should be a place where a child will be safe from harm, where their needs will be met and where they can feel secure and at ease. Regular routines and clear boundaries help children to feel safe and secure.
A comfortable foster home is one that provides all of the basic things that a child needs – warmth, food, structure and consistent and reliable care. This includes having their own bedroom, a comfortable bed, a warm containing atmosphere and the understanding for foster children that this is their home. Overall, a foster home should provide the foster child with a happy environment where they feel welcome and part of the family.
Many foster children will have gone through difficult times and they will need support and guidance to help them deal with these issues.
It is important that foster carers show an interest in the child by talking to them, asking them what is happening in their lives, asking them about school, helping them with their homework and playing with them. Such actions can show that they care for them – even though at times the child may not seem to recognise this.
A good foster home encourages communal activities to provide the child with a sense of belonging. This could involve doing things together like going for walks, going to the park and playing games together. Children need to feel that they are part of a family and have a sense of belonging.
For disabled children and children who need regular weekend and holiday placements.
Providing temporary placements for children and young people until plans for their future are confirmed. This can be emergency (with little advance warning) or planned.
Where adoption is not an option and the foster carer looks after the child or young person as a member of their family until they are ready to be independent.
For young parents who need to learn skills to care for a child.
Providing care for family groups of brothers and sisters who need to stay together.
Ask about Fostering today.
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