What is Fostering?
Fostering is a crucial part of safeguarding children and young people by providing them with an environment in which to live, where they have the benefit of therapeutic parenting techniques being employed to minimise further disruption and trauma in their lives.
Simply put, fostering is offering a child or young person – who can no longer be with their birth parent(s) – a loving, stable family environment in your own home for a period of time. This could be short term, just a few weeks or months or could be for longer, until the child reaches adulthood.
Being a Foster Carer can give you the opportunity to make immeasurable differences; not only in the lives of the young people you care for but in your own life, too.
Fostering is very rewarding but like anything can sometimes be quite challenging; which is why Lorimer invest heavily in you (our Foster Carers!) so you have the confidence to invest in them!
“A foster home is a safe-haven, somewhere a young person can feel integrated and loved….a home”
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF FOSTERING?
Depending on the reasons that the child or young person is in care, there are different types of fostering.
This is used to describe a period of care which is usually up to 12 months but can be much shorter. Children who are placed short term may be waiting for the courts to make a final decision on if they can return to their birth family; they may be needing a home while their primary carer is unwell. Whatever the reason may be, short term fostering is an opportunity for assessments to take place and decisions to be made.
This means that the child or young person is to remain in foster care for a significant period, often until the age of 18. Children may be placed with a foster carer on a short-term arrangement and have this changed to a plan of long-term care when the courts have concluded that they cannot, for whatever reason, return to the care of their birth family. It is the aim of all professionals involved that children and young people have a long-term placement found for them, to minimise further disruption and allow them to settle in a loving environment.
This occurs when a child or young person needs a very short-term place within a fostering household, usually when their regular Foster Carer needs a break. Some Foster Carers only offer respite care, meaning that they offer weekends or school holidays as times they can offer these breaks. Respite Foster Care is a vital part of providing Foster Carers with the support they need.
This is a kind of fostering which is usually planned at regular intervals and refers to those children who have some form of physical or learning disability. It is most common that these children ordinarily live with their birth families, and Short Breaks provides them with a break, much like Respite Fostering does. Lorimer Fostering do not currently provide Short Breaks care.
This type of foster care relates to the provision of a placement for a child whose long-term plan is that of adoption. Carers who provide this are usually knowledgeable in the processes involved in introducing a child to their adoptive family and providing support.
Sometimes, it is not appropriate to place a child or young person alongside any other person under the age of 18. There are many reasons why this might be; carers who provide care for children on Solo Placements usually receive a higher fee from the Local Authority.
There are times when a young person may have been involved in, or suspected of being involved in, criminal activity. A judge may have deemed it more appropriate for that young person to be placed within a specialist foster home rather than in a Young Offenders Unit. Lorimer Fostering do not currently provide Remand Foster Placements.
Parent and Child
Sometimes, a parent or parents and their child(ren) may be asked to take part in an assessment of their parenting skills, to determine if they can keep themselves and their child(ren) safe. This is a specialised type of fostering, with an element of ongoing monitoring and reporting to inform the assessment of the social workers. This may be simply observing and providing a safe environment for the family; it may be as involved as keeping the child in the same room at night and giving practical guidance and advice. Lorimer Fostering do not currently provide Parent and Child Placements.
It is usually the best outcome for a sibling group in care to be kept together; although this is not always the case. Managing sibling dynamics can be challenging, especially when the children have not had a normalised view of how relationships with others should be. However, the opportunity to maintain daily contact with birth family by being placed with siblings can be hugely beneficial for them.
This is an initiative designed to give young people who are reaching the age of 18 to remain with their Foster Carers beyond the age of 18. Although Staying Put arrangements are monitored by the Local Authority and not by Lorimer Fostering, we always support those of our carers who wish to continue to provide stability into adulthood for the young person.
Like Staying Put, this arrangement is designed to provide stability and additional support to young people who have a physical or learning disability, and who wish to remain in the care of their Foster Carers. Again, this is monitored by the Local Authority and not Lorimer Fostering, although we would always support any carers who wished to extend their care into a Shared Lives arrangement.
What do Foster Carers have to do?
Foster Carers provide a welcoming, loving, supportive and stable environment where children and young people feel valued, respected and part of the family.
Daily tasks carried out by each Foster Carer will be different dependent on the child they are looking after. Each child will have different future plans that will need to be approached in different ways.
Carers are expected to do all they can to support the child or young person they are looking after. In every area of their life: their education, their health and their social wellbeing.
They will set boundaries to help children and young people behave appropriately and communicate positively. This way they can grow and mature into independent responsible adults.
You can find out more about what Foster Carers do here.
Now you know more about what fostering is, it’s important to remember that as a Foster Carer, you are not alone. As well as working as part of a wider professional team with Social Workers, teachers and therapists, Lorimer Foster Carers themselves receive a high level of support and training to fully equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to make the difference needed to a child’s life.
GET IN TOUCH
If you would like to learn more about becoming a Foster Carer then please get in touch for a chat. You can call or WhatsApp Rachael on 07938 575 738 or submit your details using the form below and we will call you back. We recruit Foster Carers from all across the North West, and we would love to hear from you!