Mar 06

Foster Carers

Children and young people may need to be fostered for a number of reasons, their parents may be unwell, having relationship problems or they may be in prison. Some children will have been neglected or abused.

  • Fostering is about providing a safe and stable family life for someone else’s child in your own home.
  • Fostering can be for a short or long period of time. Maybe to provide a short break (respite) for a child or their family.
  • Fostering can be a challenging but immensely rewarding experience for both carers and cared for children and young people.

As a foster carer you will also be expected to do some or all of the following parental activities:

  • Buy clothes and other necessities for the child (for which you’ll be paid an allowance to help cover these costs).
  • Attend medical appointments.
  • Assist in finding or supporting education for the child, including accompanying them to school and helping with their homework.
  • Help to facilitate contact with parents and family members.
  • Attend regular meetings  regarding the child’s welfare.
  • Keep records of the child’s progress and any significant developments.
  • Write or contribute to reports for court (if appropriate).
  • Keep in contact with the child’s social worker about anything affecting the child.
  • Assist with life story work for the child to maintain an understanding of their life.
  • Attend support group meetings with other carers.
  • Attend compulsory and specific training sessions.
  • Be available for supervision with your fostering social worker.

You can find out more about what it’s like to foster by listening to the stories of foster carers in Cardiff on the Foster Care Cardiff website.

On a top level, a foster carer must provide day-to-day care for children or young people, establishing their needs and ensuring that they are provided with a stable and caring environment while they are separated from their birth families.

  • At times a child or young person may come from a troubled family, or may have experienced abuse or neglect. It is therefore essential that a foster carer is non-judgemental about the child or their background. A foster carer must possess a positive attitude to diversity and difference.
  • Fostering a child can be challenging, a foster carer must have resilience in order to meet these challenges.
  • A foster carer must possess certain skills to care for particularly vulnerable foster children including empathy and patience.
  • A foster carer must act as a positive role model for their foster children in the family home and within the local community. Often foster carers gain a positive image in the community by participating in events such as fundraising.
  • Communication and listening skills are essential in building strong relationships. A foster carer must have the ability to interact with the children they care for effectively to meet their emotional, intellectual and cultural needs.
  • A foster carer must be competent and be able to demonstrate that they have a sound judgement.
  • A foster carer must accept that they may need to develop a flexible approach to their care depending on the needs of the child. Sometimes an unexpected difficult situation may occur which the foster carer will need to handle.
  • A foster carer must understand the value of family life and must transfer this into their care. A child must always be in a supportive and loving environment.
  • A foster carer must have the ability to give praise and build a child’s self-esteem which will have an overall positive effect on the child. As a result the child will become more confident in their own abilities.
  • A foster carer must have a warm and engaging personality which translates positively to a child.

Taken from the National Fostering Agency website

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