Fostering in a Forum
At Perpetual Fostering we pride ourselves on the support our foster carers receive, but we also like to encourage our foster carers to give each other peer-to-peer support. This is why we have our monthly foster forum, so our carers can come together and share their experiences and understanding of foster care.
We may initiate the forums, but the participants determine the topic of each occasion. This is key, as forums are held specifically with the interests of foster carers in mind. No matter how supportive and experienced a social worker may be, they are not the ones directly facing the issues foster parents are confronted with everyday. We’re well aware that every experience is nuanced; as facilitators we endeavour to stay sensitive to that.
By having the monthly forum – this space in which you can freely interact with fellow carers – you are sharing your experiences with the people who have made similar choices in becoming a foster carers, just like you. They’re in exactly the same boat as you, and know what you’re going through. By sharing stories, receiving advice, and asking questions of other foster carers, you can learn and develop yourself.
Over the years, we’ve observed how these forums help promote and nurture a community spirit, which often leads to other group activities. There have been camping trips, Christmas parties, and sponsored walks. These events are a great way to reaffirm a sense of community among our carers, maintain friendships, and welcome new foster carers into the fold. All levels of experience and backgrounds are of course welcome: the outreach of foster carers into the area around them is only increased when backed by a community.
We also have a buddy and mentoring system, which allows for more experienced foster carers to have one-on-one time with newer foster parents. We also encourage our carers to gain national qualifications in mentoring, so as to be fully equipped to help their buddies, and so enrich the community.
For more information on our fostering community, visit this page or contact us via email or phone.