What is Fostering?
There are many ways to understand what fostering is. Every person involved in the unit may see it from a different point of view. Even from a distant perspective, there is no one definition that covers the whole of fostering. Part of this is due to the fact that there are different types of fostering.
One way of differentiating the types is by the length of time a child is in your care. Emergency foster care is very short-term. It could be less than a day. Short-term could last a few days to a few weeks to a few months. Long-term care could last, theoretically, from birth to 18, which is the typical care leaver age.
Another way of viewing the types of foster care is by looking at the particular challenges of the child or young person who is in care. As an example, remand fostering is an alternative to police custody with the goal of providing an environment where they are given the space to see that life can be different from what they have been used to. Some children have a physical or emotional disability, which can be quite difficult and demanding.
Respite care is a short-term placement where a child is placed with a foster family to provide the current family (whether it is a birth family, adoption family, or foster family) a break because of the intense level of care the child requires.
It is commonly believed that fostering involves caring for a baby. This is not the typical situation. Only 6% of the children in foster care are under the age of one. Often these are short-term placements while the babies wait for their adoptions to be finalised or while waiting to be able to go home to their birth parents.
However, parent and child fostering is in great demand. The parent or parents go into care with their child and are trained and assessed with regard their ability to care for the baby or young child.
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Each placement is unique and there is no single way to define fostering. What is clear is that there are not enough foster families to meet specific requirements. The result is that children have to be placed with families because those families are the only ones available. Because the best possible match is not always available, there is a greater risk that the placement will be less than successful.
Each time a child in care has to be moved into another foster care situation, they are more likely to develop an ongoing sense of insecurity about how permanent his or her placement is.
The more foster carers we can have on our team, the better outcome the children in care will have. By offering safe parenting and a nurturing environment, you open up the possibility of a bright future for a child in care.
To learn more about becoming a foster carer with the Welcome team, such as what is required of you, the training and support we provide, the application and assessment process, and the benefits we offer, contact us today on 020 3397 3332 or fill in our form.