Becoming a Foster Carer. Five Things to Consider
Thinking about becoming a foster carer? Good stuff. Taking time to decide if its right for you is SO important.
1. What sort of people become foster carers?
Fostering is challenging. No doubt. Foster children are vulnerable. When first placed they are often wary and reluctant to let their guard down. Early days it can feel like a one-way street and not the rewarding experience you imagined. Resilience, patience and understanding are SO important. Stick with it. Stick with them. Step into their shoes. In time it will feel more two-way. Like you are making that difference.
2. What will my family think about me wanting to foster?
Its not just about you remember. What are the views of those around you? Your partner, your own children. Opening your home to a foster child is a big step and needs to be openly discussed.
– How do your family feel about sharing their home and possessions?
– How do your family feel about sharing YOU?
Air views. Test scenarios. Encourage your ‘home team’ to think about what fostering will mean for them, the challenges you will face and the sacrifices you will need to make.
3. Is it difficult letting a foster child go?
A tough one. You bond with the child and then they move on. Fact. And so it’s back to resilience. Saying goodbye is a particularly difficult part of the fostering journey. No easy answers for this chapter. Of course, professional support is there for you, but it can be a challenging time.
4. Are you a team player?
As a foster carer you would be a member of a team dedicated to ensuring good outcomes for vulnerable children. The team would typically include social and support workers, education specialists and medical professionals. Each member, you included, has a unique role to play. You need to listen and respect the expertise round the table to collectively deliver the child’s care plan. Can you picture yourself in that setting?
5. Think about YOUR support network.
Remember, fostering will be challenging. Of course rewarding, but stressful and difficult. Think again about the people around you. Do you have a place where you can vent? In parallel to your personal network, you would be supported by your foster agency, a supervising social worker and a 24/7 call system for immediate support. Many carers also participate in fostering forums to share experiences. Again, picture it. Is this you?
Decision made? Probably not yet. But keep do thinking. If you ARE the right type of person, nothing is more rewarding than the difference you can make to a vulnerable child in need of help.