There are at any one time more than 65,000 children in the UK in the care system and as the population grows so does the number of children requiring foster homes. Choosing to become a foster parent and deciding to give something back to society can be a wonderful but often daunting experience with many people not knowing where to start.
What is fostering? Or what is foster care? Or how to become a foster carer?
Fostering is a way of providing a stable family life for children and young people, who are unable to live with their parents at a point in time. This allows children the chance to thrive in a safe, secure, loving and caring home environment with foster carers. The children and young people placed with foster carers are from a diverse range of backgrounds and will display different behaviour depending upon their various experiences.
All children and young people are different, making it difficult to define a “typical child”. However, what you can expect is that, as with any child or young person, they need security, stability and the chance to develop and thrive with carers who understand children’s needs and have empathy for their situation.
Fostering vs Adoption
Fostering differs from adoption, in that an adoption order ends a child’s legal relationship with their natural family, whereas looked after children remain the legal responsibility of the local authority and/or their birth parents.
Foster carers placements can last for days, months or even years. Many children return home to their families but others may receive long-term support; either through continued fostering, adoption, residential care or by being helped to live independently.
Sunbeam strives to find fostering solutions for the many young people in care. For this reason, Sunbeam provides various types of foster care and training to develop our carers to provide best possible care to our looked after children.
When looking to change a child or young person’s life, someone may look into fostering or adoption. Both choices make a great benefit to a child or young person’s life. Providing them with love and care, something that they may not have had before. But many people are unsure of the difference between fostering and adoption.
What is fostering?
Foster care is a system in which a child or young person has been placed into. A child can be placed into foster care for various reasons, such as; neglect, abuse, abandonment or they may just not be able to stay with their birth family at a given time due to a member’s health. This provides a child or young person to live within a stable family life providing them with the chance to thrive in a safe, loving and caring home environment with foster carers.
Foster carers will look after children and young people at their home, providing them with every day normalities, such as; taking them to school, doctors, dentist appointments and making sure they have a healthy and balanced diets.
When a child is in foster care, the legal responsibility of the child or young person remains with the local authority and/or the birth parents. Foster care is intended to be a short term placement until the child or young person is granted a permanent placement in another home or if the young person reaches the age of 18.
Foster carers receive their own dedicated social worker to support them throughout their fostering journey. This will be by, attending regular meetings with the foster carer. Have frequent telephone calls and meetings to ensure the foster carer feels supported and needs any additional help. Foster carers receive regular training’s to develop them further. Regular support groups are also held for the opportunity for foster carers to meet other foster carers and share their experiences.
What is adoption?
Adoption is when a person takes full custody of a child or young person which is permanent. This process legally removes the rights and responsibilities from the child or young person’s birth parents. In some cases, adoption is done by a biological family member, however this is not always the case. When a child or young person is adopted all rights are transferred over to the adoptive parents.
There are two types of adoption. One is open adoption where by the child or young person’s biological parents and adoptive parents discuss the adoption. There is also closed adoption where the adoptive parents and biological parents have no connection.
Adopters will receive support from the social services which places the child or young person with them. Adopters will receive post-adoption support from the agency that approved them.
To conclude, both fostering and adoption can positively help and change a child’s life for the better. Although fostering and adoption is a major decision at Sunbeam we have created and information guide to help you decide if fostering is right for you. To speak to a member from our recruitment team, please contact us on 02087 990 930 or fill out our call back request form and member from our team will be in contact.
Sunbeam specialises in offering different types of placements and fostering solutions.
Who can foster?
We aim to ensure that each child’s needs are met and matched as closely as possible, we use the following selection criteria:
- Previous employment or experience in children’s services – paid or unpaid.
- Applicants with particular skills and experience in specific areas such as learning difficulties, medical problems etc.
- Applicants who show a willingness to work towards meeting care standards for fostering.
- Applicants with experience of previous fostering and/or close involvement with someone who has already fostered.
- An ability to reflect on life experiences and to mature through them.
- An ability to see beyond children’s behaviour, and to link it to past trauma, where applicable
- An empathy for and natural ability to nurture children traumatised by separation from their birth families.
- Applicants able to accept teenagers
- Applicants comfortable with parents visiting their home.
- If living with a partner/ spouse, the relationship should be established and secure.
Excellent care standard and support across the group. Our latest Ofsted report for London + South rated ‘Good’. Midlands rated ‘Good’ and Sunbeam Pride is ‘Good’ with no recommendation and improvement. We offered 1,000s placements and over 500 new placements made in the last 3 years. All our foster carers have 24-hour access to staff and support which is not just a promise but delivered 365 days per year. We offer a career path into social work and further national qualifications of fostering. Currently, we offer over 100 different trainings to our foster carers. Extensive information will be provided on fostering to help your approval process. Our strong focus on quality and better outcomes for children. Full support will be provided to you including a comprehensive induction to fostering once approved. Sunbeam Pride is sister registered agency in Luton and has the full support from the parent company, Sunbeam Fostering Agency, who have a proven track record. We have strong Local Authority relationships and secure many contracts to secure placements for you.