Foster care has always been challenging. Foster carers are now having to deal with children who come into their care exhibiting signs of distress and trauma. It is the task of foster care agencies to support and recruit those best able to offer security and stability to such children. And this is a huge and continuous undertaking. Foster care children are served by a foster care system that has in recent years had to take giant strides in relation to foster care meaning and how it is interpreted and delivered. It is simply no longer enough to have a spare room and a well-meaning disposition. Providing care is increasingly becoming a professional calling. And nowhere is this more true than for those who provide therapeutic care.
All service providers have adapted to their delivery models to incorporate a therapeutic dimension. This has important ramifications for recruitment processes – as well as the general messaging about what fostering is becoming. At this time it is more important than ever for those recruiting, as well as those applying, to be clear-eyed about the fostering experience. Increasingly, this will require an understanding and willingness to put into practice principles of therapeutic caregiving. At Rainbow – in practice with promoting attachment and resilience in foster care and adoption – we are implementing the ‘Secure Base’ model. This is based on certain key theories concerning child development and family relationships. The model has also been informed by child placement research. Any foster care system must now recognise that children who come into foster or adoptive family settings are likely to have come from backgrounds characterised by abuse and neglect. They are also likely to have known separation ad loss. These considerations call for therapeutic caregiving.
Foster children need to feel they are family members.
Family membership is a key component underpinning healthy psychosocial and emotional development. Any child who lacks family relationships will be burdened by feelings of social and psychological dislocation. In complete contrast, children who are family members are anchored in a setting where their membership is unconditional. This provides a psychosocial secure base for practical and emotional support through life. It facilitates the exploration needed for personal and identity development.
Adherence to the ideas of family membership and what it promotes requires a foster carer to always include the child as a full family member socially and personally. This must be expressed in ways that are always consistent with the long-term care plan for the child. Simultaneously; and calling for particular skills, a foster parent has to help a child maintain an appropriate sense of ‘connectedness’ with their original birth family. For those children being supported in short-term care arrangements where the intention is for them to return, it’s likely the sense of connection to their birth family will be the overriding source of family membership and sense of belonging. Where long-term fostering and adoption are involved this is reversed. Here the carers and their families will be the primary source of membership and belonging with the birth families role reduced. The part played in a child’s life by their birth family will, depending on the circumstances, and what is judged appropriate, still have significance. This will depend on the quality of the relationships and of the contact arrangements. Whatever the character of a foster child’s connections to carers/adopters/birth families, a sense of membership and belonging is always fundamental to developing a coherent family narrative.
What foster care means at Rainbow.
What foster carers like and what foster carers do are very common questions we are asked. When foster care goes wrong is also high on people’s list. The different types of fostering is also a common enquiry. Whatever it is you want to know about fostering we are here to provide the best answers to your questions. Call 0330 311 2845 to find out more.
Some answers to our applicants.
Foster care is remunerated usually by fees and a fostering allowance. And fostering is classed as a job although many in the sector argue for it to be considered a profession. At Rainbow we expect all our carers to be working to the highest standards and provide the training to enable them to do this. The availability of foster care near me is also a common question: we have daily referrals from the large number of local authorities we work with, so if you are based in London, Birmingham, Manchester or Hampshire placements will be available. And can foster carers adopt? The short answer is yes but adoptive parents do take on the full legal responsibilities for the child or young person they adopt.
Remember we value highly your enquiry – even if you do not take things forward. Fostering children is one of the most positive things anyone can do and the more people who make the effort to find out what it involves the better. Especially as the need to provide secure loving homes is rising all the time. It’s important to spread the word and it may be that you tell someone else about your conversation with us and they become interested – and who knows – end up fostering.
The local authorities are under huge pressure as there has been a rise of 28% over the last decade in the number of children in care in England. The figure currently stands at 78,150 children in the care of local authorities. So, if you know anyone else who might be interested in fostering please mention us.
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The Coved-19 pandemic has presented an enormous challenge to everyone in the country. Now that children and young people have returned to schools and colleges, information from the government is being updated to help people understand how to stay safe and restrict the spread of the virus. Make sure you regularly check – https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus
Remember, all our contact details and locations can be found at the link below. Once here, you will also be able to leave your contact details and arrange for a member of our team to call you back at a time to suit you. We look forward to hearing from you soon! http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/contact/