What Is Foster Care?
Providing Belonging & Care
Fostering a child means embracing them into the heart of your family and making them feel valued and cared for without trying to replace their parents. The truth is most children have parents and do not want to exchange them for new ones, no matter what they may have experienced. A foster carer's role is supporting a child to process this and manage a healthy relationship with birth family whilst in the safety net of a fostering family.
Children want carers to accept them for who they are and need support, regardless of what they say or do. They want carers to be able to put their values aside and see things from a child’s point of view. They need someone on their side, fighting their corner when necessary, taking an interest in them and their interests.
There are different types of foster care, but the fact is all children need a sense of belonging and care. You will find some of the responsibilities are the same as a parent holds like:
Providing safety and stability
Living in nurturing homely environment where they feel at home
Helping a child to pursue their hobbies and interests and introducing them to new experiences
Promoting a child’s healthy growth and development in terms of health, social and emotional development.
Providing behavioural, social, emotional, educational support and guidance
Being an advocate and acting as a good role model
Helping them to develop their morals and values, empathy, kindness and consideration.
There’s an expectation that foster carer’s role will include:
Attend statutory appointments, all meetings, and reviews.
Record information about a child’s day-to-day progress on CHARMS recording system
Support and implement the child’s agreed care plan as set by the Local Authority.
Foster carers should embrace being part of the skilled team around the child. Those teams include social workers, health, education, therapists, and other professionals, depending on each child’s unique needs. A foster carer’s role is so important and crucial to a child achieving positive outcomes.
Children can enter Foster Care for a variety of reasons. Children are removed from their homes because they are in unsafe and dangerous situations, or parents may be temporarily ill. Whatever the reason is fully shared with foster carers prior to a child being placed with you.
It is important to remember that it is never the child’s fault, and they are not bad, broken or naughty, more often than not, they are victims of circumstance.
Children in foster care have often experienced much trauma and some children are traumatised and others show incredible resilience. Often, they do exhibit “testing” and “difficult” behaviours, this is normal and something that can be worked through, with the help of the team around the child, foster carers are never on their own.
It takes time, trust, and commitment to reach some children who have put up barriers to protect themselves from being hurt again.