Foster care can be challenging at the best of times. All children come with baggage and a set of unique needs. But what motivates those to foster children who have a disability. After all, that has to be particularly challenging and stressful. But for those who do, find caring for a child or young person with physical disabilities, learning difficulties or medical conditions can be uniquely and hugely rewarding. Potential can be measured in so many different ways. Supporting a child who has a range of complex needs to make progress and live a full life is a unique experience. For such children, small steps can be giant strides forward. Foster carers share in this participating closely – indeed are a vital part of facilitating this progress. As a foster carer looking after a disabled child you could be looking after a young person with a range of physical difficulties. These could span developmental disabilities such as autism through to physical impairments that restrict their movement. Fostering service providers make sure that specialist support and training are available. Depending upon the nature of the disability, a foster carer can expect to find themselves at the heart of a closely-knit team. Physiotherapy is often needed for children with a disability so a carer can expect to find themselves working with other care professionals. Before considering providing foster care for a child with a disability, there are a number of things to give careful consideration. Carers who already have children of their own should think about the additional demand looking after a disabled child will place on their family. Fostering a disabled child requires high levels of commitment and time. It’s not usually practical to work – even part-time. That would almost certainly be the case for a foster carer with a long-term placement. The situation may be different according to the type of fostering a carer chooses to provide. Options include short-term, long-term and respite foster care. Long-term fostering requires the biggest commitment. Short- term foster care is a good choice for a person looking to foster a disabled child on a more temporary basis. Providing respite care is extremely valuable as it gives foster carers looking after a disabled child a much-needed break from the day-to-day routine of providing care. It should not be overlooked that respite carers play a vital role in the overall task of offering the best care for disabled children. Anyone contemplating fostering a disabled child will naturally feel apprehensive – it can be a daunting challenge. With the right training and specialist support, the confidence of a foster carer grows as their own knowledge expands. It is a good idea to have a strong network of friends – including family – who can be on hand to provide support and understanding when needed.
Should you decide to foster a disabled child through Rainbow, you’ll immediately be welcomed into a large and supportive team of highly motivated professionals. This will include therapists, social workers and childcare experts. A foster carer will have a particularly strong bond with their supervising social worker who will have deep knowledge and understanding of a child’s needs. It is likely that the foster carer will also work alongside a physiotherapist to better understand the physical challenges a disabled child faces. Physiotherapy for a disabled child will be an extremely important part of their overall care package. As any foster carer will know, it is not unusual for children with physical disabilities to spend large parts of the day in the same position. They might be restricted to relatively few positions that can have a detrimental effect on their health. A sedentary life is not good for anyone’s health and wellbeing but it is something disabled children have to contend with. Physiotherapy is important in maintaining health because when the body isn’t as mobile as it should be it can affect the weight of a disabled child. It is important therefore to make full use of the body even when it has physical limitations. This can be facilitated by a trained physiotherapist who will help a child to stretch their body and strengthen muscle groups that would otherwise be rarely used. A programme of physiotherapy can help a child manage their weight as well as achieve a greater degree of mobility and control over their body. A disabled child’s foster carer will themselves be shown basic exercises that they can help a child with. Disabled children commonly experience stress and frustration because their movements are limited. Not only does physiotherapy help in keeping the body fit, it is also important in releasing the tension, pain and stress that can build up. It is one of the best ways to help a disabled child to manage pain arising from problems such as spasm and spasticity that could otherwise be very difficult to manage. Foster carers will be aware that disabled children often have a plethora of medical issues that can adversely affect their health. And this can be far beyond the initial physical disability. Such children can be at greater risk from colds, chest infections and viruses. Physiotherapy is important in maintaining their overall sense of physical and mental wellbeing. This is especially important as it helps them, with the help of their foster carer, to set goals and achieve greater independence.
Fostering is open to people who are (over 21) married, divorced, single or cohabiting. You can foster children or young people whatever your sexual orientation, ethnicity or cultural background. You don’t have to have your own children. You don’t have to own your own home. You do have to be a UK citizen or have permanent leave to remain. Most importantly you need to have the desire to place a vulnerable child at the heart of your home and provide loving care and support. You must have a spare room available for a child or young person.
As we are now in another national lockdown, we are continuing to hold initial interviews online via Skype. So you can apply to foster with us right now. It’s easy to do and a member of our recruitment team will be on hand to help you.
We are providing exemplary fostering services every day for local authorities in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Hampshire. We have been rated ‘Outstanding in all areas’ by Ofsted in recognition of our expertise in arranging and supporting well-matched fostering placements.
At Rainbow, we pay well as we recognise the valuable work done by our foster carers. And the better they are appreciated and supported, the better the outcomes for all our children. So you can expect to earn between £1,500 – £3,000 More than that, if you choose to take advantage of the considerable training opportunities we provide, you’ll see that a professional career in fostering can be richly rewarding. A therapeutic foster carer, for example, will receive enhanced rates of payment meaning earnings can rise to £30k+ pa.
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Please make sure to check the latest advice and guidance to stay safe and well during lockdown – visit – remember if you can work from home the government guidance is that you should. https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus Everyone should remember Hands, Face, Space – protect the NHS. http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/contact/ Rainbow keeping the focus on fostering.