What Does It Take To Become A Foster Carer?
Last week, the head of fostering and adoption at Barnardo’s, Brenda Farrell, made a suggestion that “we have large sectors of our community who ‘self-exclude’ themselves from fostering because they believe they’re not able to foster”.
This belief is certainly supported by the Fostering Network, the UK’s largest foster charity, who, at the beginning of the month, reported a shortage of 9,000 foster carers across the country.
For anyone interested in fostering in the North West or the West Midlands, we’ll always ensure that the children and young people within our care are given the highest levels of support and attention, to which we’ll aim to have all children fostered within a similar geographic location, and by a foster family who share a similar cultural background. Or, as we like to call it, finding the ‘perfect fit’ between foster child and family.
Our foster carers come in all shapes and sizes, and from a range of backgrounds and life experiences too, but what does it take to become one? Whilst you don’t require formal qualifications or previous experience, you do require willingness, resilience and a determination to make a difference to a child’s future prospects.
With the right training, alongside the support and guidance from one of our experienced social workers, a main duty of every foster parent is to provide a child or young person with day-to-day care and support within an environment that is safe and secure. It is imperative that whilst in your care, their specific needs and requirements are also met.
Just by speaking to our fostering community, you’ll quickly realise that each child placed in foster care is different in terms of their personality and life experience, so as a foster carer you must approach each placement with a degree of openness, flexibility and versatility to help get the best out of the child and the relationship.
In addition to promoting the right environment for a foster child to develop in, you as a foster carer must also be willing to lead by example and to act as a positive role model, both inside and outside of the family home. We understand that the majority of children learn by replicating the behaviour of an adult, so being able to set a good example is crucial to a successful fostering relationship.
Providers of support and encouragement
Providing a foster child with praise, support and encouragement throughout the entire fostering journey is fundamental to their future development. Whether it’s helping a child partake in their favourite hobbies and sporting activities, or being able to assist with homework and revision, these are all fantastic opportunities for you to provide encouragement and reassurance as a foster parent. In doing so, you’re likely to improve the self-esteem and self-worth of the child or young person within your care.
Well, we’ve just picked out a few of things that make our foster carers so brilliant in helping to change the life of some of society’s most vulnerable young people. Put simply, foster carers must be willing, determined and flexible throughout their journey, but you don’t need special expertise, qualifications or experience to be able to foster, just a big heart!
We’re here to help anyone who is interested in starting their fostering journey, so why not get in touch with us today to find out more? It could be the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do.