Fostering can be really rewarding and you have the potential to really change a child’s life for the better. However, it isn’t without its challenges.
So, before you rush into making a decision, you need to fully understand what it is you’ll be getting yourself into.
BAAF has got some great information on the kind of people that become foster carers, but we thought it would be helpful to know whether you have the right foster care qualities.
This is probably the single most important quality for foster carers, as you will sometimes be dealing with challenging behaviours and situations.
The children you have placed with you may understandably be scared, confused, and nervous. These feelings are often what cause difficult behaviour, so patience is an absolute must.
Being able to communicate with the child is also up there with patience. You may come across children who don’t know how to communicate their feelings in a healthy and appropriate manner.
It’s up to you as a caring adult to show them. Sit down and talk about how they are feeling. Try to reassure them and make sure they know they can come to you if they have any issues.
Forget everything you thought fostering would be like. As with any type of parenting, there will be things thrown at you that you haven’t prepared for. What works for one child won’t necessarily work for another, so you have to be willing to be completely flexible in your parenting approach.
Take the needs of each child into consideration. Be open to learn new skills along the way. This is going to be a challenging time for both you and the young people in your care.
A stable home is something every child needs, whether they are your own or fostered young people. Many of the children you’ll care for will have come from volatile circumstances, so the last thing they need is to enter into another unstable environment.
You will need to ensure that your home situation, more than anything else, is stable. It’s only then you’ll be able to provide a high quality of care to the young people you foster.
5. Team Working
Fostering is not an isolated activity, your team begins with your own family and grows to encompass the wider network of care offered by the agency, the local authority and a number of other concerned stakeholders.
It is essential that you have the ability to become comfortable working as part of the professional team around the child, in order that together we can achieve the best possible outcomes for all concerned.
We highly recommend doing as much research as you can before embarking on your fostering journey. Feel free to contact us to discuss further.