Words from one of our approved carers
People ask me why I became a Foster Carer, especially having four of my own children and three grandchildren. My answer is, I really don’t know. A combination of reasons and circumstances and to see if I can help is my answer;
People ask me questions about the process to become a foster Carer.
Where do you go or apply to become a foster Carer ? Can anyone be a foster Carer? Was it an easy process? Did the process take long? My answers were simple as everyone that applies has life experiences that could be valuable in being a Foster Carer. The process is easy but it is a required thorough investigation of whether you will meet the criteria to become a foster parent. You are not judged on what or what you haven’t done in your life but whether you can be a Foster Carer and what you can do for a child in your care.
The process from enquiry to be accepted at panel is on average five months. I joined an IFA [ independent Fostering Agency] rather than the local authority, because the two main reasons being I felt that the backup for help was more reliable and that you had that extra individual help and advice of a supervising social worker especially when dealing with all the ‘professionals’ around the child in your care. Also, the training to get the required knowledge was readily accessible. You have a network of foster carers where you can get valuable advice, help and hints.
A question often asked is what ages do you have them. I said all ages, but the more selective you are in age range and or any other personnel wants or want nots in a child to be placed with you then does reduce your chances of having a child placed with you regularly. You can choose how you want to Foster, whether short term long-term respite or emergency. We said any child that needs help if we have the space then they are welcome.
There are many children out there that need help and a safe place to be whether short or long term. They have many different issues and behaviours you have to wear many different hats for, sometime several together to enable you to deal with the situation. We all make mistakes or the wrong course of action but if you accept that and learn from it, the next time dealing with a situation it becomes a bit easier. Not every child wants to be in care so there will be suspicion, hostility and a reluctance to comply.
My golden rule …do not take it personally, [that is hard to do] be firm with rules and boundaries. Be the ‘Bricklayer’, give them the building foundation bricks that they have missed out on whether that is education, love, trust, safety and self-esteem. Let them see you support them and finally have fun and give them experiences that they can remember. You might not see any gratitude but it is there.
A good example one child we had on respite who has had many many placements in his life came to visit. He said the short while he was here was the best time he ever had whilst he was in foster care.
What a good feeling that gave us.
Remember, To be a Foster Carer is to accept any child that needs help and do what you can
Why did I become a Foster Carer? looking back over the years we know we have made a difference
Has it been worth it? Yes.