We get a lot of enquiries where people just want a simple definition of what fostering is. Those of us who work in the industry have an understanding of all the nuances and complexities that underlie the activity of fostering. But place yourself in the position of the person who may be considering fostering for the first time, and the most obvious question for them will be ‘what actually is fostering?’
Put at its simplest, fostering is looking after a child, or young person in your home whilst their birth parents are unable to do so. This could be for a whole variety of reasons – sometimes simple, but often complex. Fostering can be on a short or long term basis. Once you are looking after a child, you will be expected to provide a home environment which is above all stable. Fostering may only be a very temporary arrangement whilst a family crisis is resolved. Even if it is for a short period, a foster carer is expected to nurture the child or young person – as well as provide educational support.
Why fostering is necessary
Sadly for some children and young people, the option of returning to their families is not realistic. Often in such cases, children will have had extremely trying and difficult times. They may have been the victims of abuse – physical or sexual – or neglect. Supporting children who have had these kinds of experience places considerable demands upon the emotional resilience of foster carers. This is why carers will have had considerable training and be in receipt of round the clock support. For some children, foster carers provide longer term support which lasts as long as the child is adopted. Other carers will have a child or young person over the long term and beyond the age of eighteen – as part of the ‘Staying Put’ programme. This seeks to continue the stability a young person will have benefited from. When a child is fostered, the legal responsibility for them remains solely with their natural parents, or in some instances this will be shared with the Local Authority. Where beneficial, contact with the child’s family members will be supported and encouraged during the period the child is in foster care. Foster carers play a key role in what is described as being ‘the team around the child’. This also comprises social workers who work
alongside foster carers to ensure the well being of a child in care is maintained.
The leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network explains what foster caring can involve most succinctly:
“Foster carers do a fantastic job, but it can also be a challenging and complex role with annual reviews, ongoing professional development, liason with social workers and others who work with children, and record keeping.”
Don’t forget ‘Rainbow Rewards’
Rainbow are an independent fostering agency: we pay a bonus of £500, if you are in a position to refer someone to be a foster carer with us: you’ll receive the bonus once your referral has been approved and the first placement has been accepted. Existing foster carers, if they wish to transfer to Rainbow, will also qualify for a special bonus: this payment will be made for carers who are already caring for youngsters on a long-term basis.
And the good news at the end of this particular rainbow…quite a few of our children have been celebrating birthdays this January. We wish them all well and look forward to hearing about what successes they will be enjoying as the year unfolds.
More News if you are fostering – keeping you informed
We strive to keep you abreast of all the news items that relate to fostering. Visit the news section on the Rainbow fostering website to learn what is going on in the world of fostering. Simply visit http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK