As a foster carer, you are responsible for providing a stable, secure and safe home for a young person who can’t live with their own family. You will be providing care for a period of time that can be for a single night or many years. This will depend very much on the circumstances and your own particular preferences.
Carers have a hugely important role to play. The experience can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be very challenging. There is a view that being a foster carer is actually being more than a parent since it involves other roles. You are required to be a friend, advocate and counsellor for a foster child that is completely dependent on you.
It must be remembered that while making a significant difference to the life and prospects of a child, the challenges can affect you emotionally and physically. There are particular stress points that other parents simply do not have to face.
The kinds of children who come into care
Children who come into foster care often come from homes that do not nurture them in any way. Worse, foster carers have to deal with a high proportion of children that have been subjected to physical or sexual abuse. Other children will have disabilities or a range of specific conditions such as autism or ADHD. They may have been caught up in situations where they have witnessed domestic violence. The world as experienced by such children would be a stressful place for adults to rationalise. Pause for thought: currently, there is a consensus amongst neuroscientists that the brain does not reach full development until the mid twenties. And some contend this does not finally happen until the thirties! Either way it is obvious why children are not equipped to deal with traumatic experiences so as to prevent them being deeply affected by them.
The challenges of being a foster carer fall broadly into three main categories: supporting a foster child with trauma, managing a foster child with complex needs and behaviours, and helping to maintain contact with the foster child’s biological parents, relatives and friends.
There is an increasing need for therapeutic foster carers. These people receive additional training to enable them to care for children who have experienced significant emotional trauma that might be the consequence of a range of experiences. The challenges are that much greater, but with support and training the rewards can be that much greater. For individuals who have had experience working with children and have ambitions to progress professionally, there are a range of qualifications that can be obtained in therapeutic foster care.
Foster care: summary
The most important point is that to be a carer, you have to like children and young people and be driven to help them succeed. Providing a roof over the head of a foster child is only the start. Fostering is about so much more. It is a way of life and will change you as a person.
Foster care the Rainbow way
Everyone would agree that childhood is a unique period in a person’s life. This is a time when children should be able to feel secure in an environment filled with love and support. For many, this is simply not a possibility. At Rainbow, we are on a mission to alleviate the worst effects of this deprivation. Our goal is simply to find, train and support the very best people out there who aim to become foster carers.
All children and young people should be entitled to grow up in a place that encourages them to have dreams they want to fulfil. The best foster carers make this happen every day for disadvantaged children. The problem: such individuals are in very short supply. We hope after reading this overview of the basic of being a foster carer, you will give serious consideration to the idea. You can be a part of our Team Rainbow. You will have seen on our website that we have twenty years experience in fostering. During this time we have built a real community that many of our foster carers take huge pleasure in belonging to. Some have been with us well over ten years, which tells its own story.
Rainbow are now recruiting across London and now Manchester and Birmingham. Make your story part of our story. Our recruitment specialists are available on 020 8427 3355 or 0330 311 2845 (our National Line). It will only be a friendly initial talk – without any obligation. At this stage we like to get a rough idea of what your motivations to become a carer are.
More foster care news:
A local authority in Flintshire, Wales engaged in drive to find more carers
21st, August, 2018. Click the link –
All blogs written by Will Saunders: Rainbow Fostering – Content Management/Marketing