A CAREER IN FOSTER CARE…WITH OUR JULIE
What sort of families we need?
There’s no such thing as the ideal Foster Carer. Our carers come from all walks of life, careers and backgrounds. You don’t need specific skills to become a Foster Carer, your life experiences, parenting skills, values and work with young people are just as important. There’s no upper age limit to being a carer as long as your GP gives you a clean bill of health and you can foster whether you’re single, married, divorced or co-habiting. To be eligible as a Foster Carer you must have a spare bedroom, have a good level of spoken and written English and pass a number of checks to ensure the safety of the children or young people in your care.
What is Foster Care?
Children under 18 can be placed in foster care if the courts decided they’re unable to stay with their birth family. There are lots of different types of foster care, which can suit lots of different types of carer, and involve everything from looking after a child for a few nights to long term placements. Emergency placements are usually the shortest. These often involve a child being placed with a carer at short notice, especially if they need somewhere safe to stay in a crisis situation. Short-term or task centred Foster Carers provide children with a place to stay until plans for their future have been agreed. These placements can last a few days or a few years. Respite carers look after children who are disabled, have special needs or exhibit behavior’s which can be quite challenging to manage whilst their families or usual Foster Carers have a break. Remand care provides children and young people with a stable environment and support whilst they go through the court process if they have committed an offence. Ultimately some children need a long term foster family to care for them through to adulthood and beyond!
What sort of children are looking for Foster Carers?
Children in foster care come from lots of different backgrounds. Teenagers, children with disabilities, parent and child and large sibling groups are often the most dif cult to place, and are the ones most in need of a caring, supportive environment to live in. Some of those in need of a foster care place may have a young baby themselves, others may have experienced neglect, violence or sexual abuse and need a carer with the patience and strength to help them build and understand family relationships from the ground up.
What makes a good Foster Carer?
First and foremost you need to like children! You need a good sense of humour and the ability to see the big picture, to be able to celebrate small improvements in a child’s development. It’s also important to be a good team player as you’re not only working with a child but the rest of their support network: social workers, teachers, doctors and birth parents. Trust is also immensely important. Not only do you need to be able to make a child feel safe and secure, you also need to be con dent in the professional foster care team supporting you and vice versa!
Take a minute and read Ronnie’s story… My fostering family…
“Me, my Mum, Dad and brother Tris have fostered for lots of years. We’ve had lots and lots of children come and go, some staying all their lives and some just for a while. But of all the children that have come Lewis was my favourite. He was a very special brother. He had loads of special needs: he couldn’t walk, talk or see but he could laugh for ENGLAND!! I am very proud of my brother he was the BRAVEST, he had lots of pain but still laughed. Sometimes I visited him in hospital, I was even one of the first people to see him even before Nana, he was a baby. Lewis was a funny looking baby without any hair and a tube up his nose, but we fell in a crater of love for him. He couldn’t play but I use to sing to him and shake his favourite toy the tambourine. Some people don’t know why I would love a brother like him. It’s really sad now he lives with God and our dog Fletcher and Milo the hamster, but we know he is watching us all 24 hours a day. This was 2 years ago but we are still a foster family. I know it’s a great thing to be a foster brother to other children. I show them how our home works, and all the toys in the playroom and the new bedroom and the bathrooms. Peace is a rare thing in our home but it’s fun to have someone to play and joke about with.
I know how it feels to be a foster child it’s scary.
Me and my brother Tris used to be along time ago. I know it’s an important job to be a foster family to help others. It certainly helped Tris, he’s now at University studying Law so he can get a cracking job and take me, my Mum and Dad plus Nanna to Frankie & Benny’s.”