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Foster care: a focus on sons and daughters month 3

Foster care and sons and daughters month 3

Foster parents and sons and daughters month 3

Foster carers who already have their own biological children have to overcome additional challenges when fostering. In parts 1 and 2 of this series – running concurrently with The Fostering Network’s annual Sons and Daughters month – we looked at some of the impacts and effects of fostering on families caring for looked after children. Now we turn our attention to ensuring that the experience can be a positive one for all family members. 

Preparation is vital. 

Always remember, fostering is a process. Underpinning successful placements is the matching process that begins when a fostering service provider receives a referral. The role of the social worker is to ensure as much as possible is known about the history of a child coming into care. It isn’t, however, always clear what experiences a child may have had. Sadly, they are usually likely to have been negative in a variety of ways. This should always be understood and considered by anyone thinking about fostering if they have their own birth children. And above all, the importance of preparation cannot be overstated. There are important rules to follow:

  • being part of the decision to foster is essential: what things are discussed all obviously need to be age-appropriate. The conversation will be very different with teenage children compared to much younger children. What matters is the inclusion of birth children in discussions about a decision to foster;
  • promote understanding – birth children need to have an awareness of what fostering is – both negative and positive – and the ways their lives are likely to be affected;
  • communication matters – birth children need to be kept informed throughout the fostering process;
  • being listened to – in order for a fostering placement to be successful, the views and opinions of birth children should always be taken into account. Bear in mind these will vary as each placement will be different;
  • stress fostering is a family endeavour and every member must feel able to be heard. Birth children need to be able to cope and this means being able to air their difficulties both with their parents and the social workers involved. It is very important birth children are never left feeling they are not an important part of the equation;
  • birth children need to be given as much information about a foster child before they become part of the family. This lessens the chances of overreacting to what will be unfamiliar patterns of behaviour. What is disclosed about a foster child must respect their rights of confidentiality and in relation to this, social workers will play an important role.
  • it’s always necessary to prepare birth children for placements coming to an end. If a placement ends, either in a planned or unplanned way, this should always be discussed.

Find out more about the campaign.

The Fostering Network provides a range of resources – as well as ideas – to enable people to get behind the campaign. One activity the charity has come up with which works particularly well is when requested, they will send out an official ‘thank you’ letter to the sons and daughters of foster carers. Included with this is a certificate marking their contribution to fostering. Because there is a serious shortage of foster parents, the charity recommends involving older sons and daughters in special recruitment sessions. This gives them the chance to talk with potential new carers and deal with some of the reservations they may have.  And next year the charity’s campaign will be launched under a different name as the intention is to – in their words – 

“address every young person whose parents foster, no matter their gender identity. We want each and every one of them to feel seen and heard – not just as an integral part of the fostering family, but as people. ‘Sons and daughters’ is a gendered terminology that we want to replace with a name that’s more inclusive. To get this right, we need to ensure that children of foster carers and people with lived experience support the new terminology and that you – our members – are happy with it too.”

Experience for yourself the rewards of a career in foster care

Few things are as personally satisfying as making a significant difference in the life of a vulnerable child or young person. As a foster carer, you will have the chance to do this.  Fostering is a profession that also offers considerable variety. You can choose to foster teenagers, sibling groups, children with complex needs, as well as to support Parent & Child placements. And whatever area you specialize in, you’ll enjoy the advantage of flexible working from home.

At Rainbow, we are helping foster carers to build their careers every day through the high-quality training we provide. Take the chance to become a valued member of our Rainbow family today. You will need a spare room to foster and the compassion and determination to make a difference. You can call us on 0330 311 2845 right now to start your fostering journey.  Rainbow has been rated ’Outstanding in all areas’ by Ofsted so you can be assured of a positive fostering experience with many opportunities to develop your career.

And as a Rainbow foster carer, your earnings could be between £1.5k and £3k a month.

As part of our community of foster carers, you will enjoy the benefits of membership with FosterTalk. This organization provides a range of general advice and support to foster carers: one important area relates to earnings and fees. You can find out more at – https://www.fostertalk.org/foster-carer-tax/

With Covid restrictions being lessened, it’s still important to be aware of the risks coronavirus still presents. Please regularly check for the latest government advice and guidance to keep safe: visit –

https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus

And for an interesting blog on another fostering topic visit – 

http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/foster-carers-to-appreciate-childrens-environmental-worries/

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