Foster caring has become a more natural and appealing experience
Foster caring has become a more natural and appealing experience in recent years. The bureaucratic rules which previously prevented foster carers from assuming a ‘normal’ parental role have been removed. These changes have provided what is known as ‘delegated authority’ and the impact has been significant.
Foster carers now have the ability to take more key decisions in day-to-day life. So when a child wants to go on a school trip or stay at friend’s house over night, for example, foster carers can confidently make those calls.
It’s fair to say foster carers were previously the unsung heroes of fostering, whose role in the daily lives of children was not given the recognition it deserved. There has now been a shift in attitudes and a realisation that foster carers actually know the child better than anyone else.
Previously, many of those key daily decisions were deferred to a social worker, a team manager or assistant director. This meant that if a fostered child wanted to go to Alton Towers with their school, the carer could say yes to their child by birth but was unable to do the same for their fostered child.
When you talk to experienced foster carers, they will tell you that changing this has been ‘the best thing ever’. It is now easier for foster carers to include placements in the fabric of their family. The whole experience has become more natural.
Flexibility with work
The normalisation of foster caring also extends to a foster carer’s work life. People often do give up work to become foster carers but you can also maintain your job and foster. Some of Perpetual’s foster carers are also paramedics, lecturers and probation workers.
Due to the responsibilities involved, there obviously has to be a degree of work flexibility – and it does affect the types of placements possible. These issues are, however, acknowledged during the matching process and before placements are made.
These work arrangements, once again, represent a more natural representation of normal parenting situations. With foster carers now able to behave more naturally, it is making it much easier for foster carers to offer placements. It should also encourage people who want to become a foster carer to take that journey. When the need for placements is going up and recruitment of foster carers is going down this all makes complete sense.
* If you would like to become a foster carer or would like more information about fostering, our support team are happy to talk through any questions you may have.