Fostering is a challenging yet highly rewarding endeavour: those who take on the role of a Foster Carer are already warm, nurturing grounded people, motivated by a desire to provide a stable, caring home for children and young people who need it.
Part of your Foster Care journey will involve developing qualities you already bring to the role, such as resilience and flexibility. In addition to this, there are a range of useful skills that can help you to support the growth and development of children in your care so that they feel safe, supported and cared for.
Sadly, many children and young people c have suffered trauma as a result of living with parents/caregivers who are not able to meet their needs. As their foster carer, your role is to provide them with a sense of safety and grounding - somewhere they can call “home” for as long as they need it
As part of your role, you have a responsibility to attend meetings with other professionals involved in working with the child and effectively manage any information related to the children in your care such as written records and sensitive or confidential information (for example medical record
Your Supervising Social Worker will accompany you to meetings and be there for support. Foster carers are often asked for their feedback as to how the child is progressing at home which helps inform the plans for the child.
As well as attending meetings you might also be involved in transporting the child to and from family visits, attending appointments, training and your support groups.
Being child-centred, having an ability to listen to the child and anticipate what they need is a key skill for Foster Carers. Recognising and interpreting when the child needs space or needs extra time with you is crucial to your role.
Having good interpersonal skills helps you to develop positive relationships with the other people in your fostering team, including your, own Supervising Social Worker, the child’s social worker, teachers and your child or children’s family members. As a foster carer, you need to be a good listener and be able to communicate effectively with others.
Wherever possible, maintaining contact with your foster child’s family is important to the children in your care it gives the child reassurance and helps them to keep their family relationships. It also ensures that everyone is working together in a collaborative and supportive way.
When it comes to working as a team, effective communication is paramount. - so it’s important to maintain clear, consistent and effective communications, whether face-to-face, over the telephone or in writing.
Very often foster carers are motivated by an understanding that for some children their childhoods have been affected by difficult experiences and they want to give something back. Foster Carers who can show care, compassion and empathy to a child are helping them to recover from trauma and building the blocks for a more successful future. Some foster carers might have experienced similar backgrounds, others may have always had a strong family network and want to create that for the child.
Regardless of your own background, there will be some situations where you will need additional support to help you understand what the child needs from you. Training courses are a great way to build on your knowledge and skills and you also have the opportunity to hear from other Foster Carers who may have managed similar situations.
Fostering is emotionally demanding and takes a lot of energy. In the process of caring for children or young people, it can be easy to sometimes forget about your own health and wellbeing, which might lead to feelings of stress or being overwhelmed. While the child always comes first, it’s also important to ensure that you are effectively managing your own health and wellbeing.
While finding time for yourself can be a challenge, even just ten minutes a day to take a break with a cup of tea can help you to feel refreshed and better ready to take whatever challenges the day might bring. It also helps to talk to family members and other foster carers who can offer you support when you need it.
Preparation for being a foster carer is thorough and involves you and all family members in your household. In the initial stages, we invite you to a series of workshops where you can meet other potential carers and some of our amazing team. Following this when you go into the Assessment process we spend lots of time with you talking about your experience, your skills and discussing what child/ren might best fit with you. t
Training with Care Visions is supported by two “pillars'' of practice.
The first is Theraplay®, which is a child and family-focused mode of therapy designed to help you manage emotional and behavioural responses while helping to promote a positive relationship between yourself and the child or children.
The second is Therapeutic Crisis intervention, or TCI, which is designed to help you to manage challenging or distressing situations while also helping children in their care develop their own healthy coping strategies.
As a Foster Carer, it is your responsibility to continually improve your skills so that you can give your best and adapt to the child’s changing needs.
Training and skills development is an ongoing process that takes place throughout the duration of your time as a Foster Carer. We also offer a comprehensive programme of formal training and additional support when required.
As you gain more insight and greater experience, this can in turn help you to support other Foster Carers in your network as well as provide children or young people with a safe, caring environment where they can flourish.