10 top tips to become a foster carer
- Have a passion to make a difference – potential foster carers need to be totally committed to the idea of helping a child, and willing to advocate on their behalf, where necessary.
- Be flexible – People often think that only one kind of child, or a specific group of children, will fit in with their family, but this isn’t always the case. During the assessment process, and when you are approved, social workers will work with you to identify the most suitable placements for your family.
- Be willing to offer love and support – these can be things that foster children have not received from people that have cared for them before.
- Fostering is not adoption – When you care for a fostered child, you care for them in partnership with the placing Authority. This means that, although there are some decisions regarding a child that you can make by yourself, there will be others which will be decided by the Local Authority.
- Be able to communicate and listen to children in a way that is appropriate for their age and understanding – communication is key to supporting and helping a child.
- It is not an individual who fosters, but a family – Everyone in your household should be willing to foster – only then can a foster child experience normal family life.
- Be willing and prepared to seek advice from social work professionals – they know the system best.
- Be committed to taking on ongoing training, learning and support, that will aid you in the fostering role.
- Be aware and prepare to say goodbye – fostering placements don’t always last until a child becomes an adult.
- Have a positive attitude, be non-judgmental and empathetic – From the very beginning, your attitude towards a fostered child can have a significant impact on how a placement goes.
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