Fostering Community Events: Benefits for the Child
Getting your relationship with a foster child just right can be challenging. Too much distance and you seem uncaring, but at the same time becoming overly-attached is also inappropriate. One great way to establish a rapport with the child is through accompanying them to fostering community events. It’s likely this is the kind of context that would place both of you on a level playing field with each other, as both of you may well be outsiders, not knowing anyone else in attendance.
As you learn during the recruitment process, one of your primary responsibilities as a foster carer is to ensure the child builds or continues to maintain social contacts, with the following points to concentrate on:
- Understand the value of contact with other children in foster care
- Encourage the child to make friends and socialise as much as possible
- Facilitate them building support networks through joining clubs or groups
- Motivate the child to reach their full potential
Community events are thereby ideal for fulfilling these necessities, as all of them can be facilitated by fosterers and children gathering in a social setting. This is reflected across society: without a surrounding community, all people – certainly not just foster children – tend to struggle. With this in mind, the experiences of a great number of foster children, who have struggled with isolation, should serve as examples going forwards.
By and large, these children don’t come from the most stable of family units. One consequence of this tends to present itself as a difficulty to place themselves in wider social groups and communities as they grow older – primarily because they never had a great start in this sense to begin with.
Added to this is the fact that many children are moved around frequently, and it becomes obvious how much greater the need for a sense of community really is amongst foster children – where before there may have been none.
So you see that your push to include a foster child in community events is a very significant step to breaking them out of the more problematic cycles of behaviour that unsuccessful placements are at risk of creating.