What do foster carers do?

Foster carers do the most rewarding job, they make a real difference to the life of children and young individuals who live with them. They do this by working with different professionals in order to ensure that the child receives security, support, love and care in the home. Foster carers provide the children with the first experience of a positive family life. They make a huge impact on the future of the child and play a significant role in their growing up years.

A foster carer can look after three children at a point of time and it will also depend on the age and the number of their own children they have to look after. There are different types of foster care. One looks after children in an emergency situation until there can be long term arrangements made for them. Others look after children for a short period of time until the child can move back to their home or to a permanent placement. Many children end up with the foster carers on a long term basis, which is usually the entire duration of their childhood. They specialize in caring for children of a specific age. Many foster babies or very young children before they are adopted while many look after primary school aged children.

Skills needed

There is no examination or written test you need to pass to become a foster carer. However, you need to ensure that you are ready to take up the responsibility of a child inside your home. Many foster carers develop the skills to look after disabled children and many specialist in caring for unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

Apart from providing for day to day care for the children, foster carers need to advocate on behalf of the child and support them in every manner possible. The children do not only need educational support, they also seek emotional support from the carers. This could be challenging at times depending on the situation and the background of the child but as a foster carer, your job is to ensure that the child feels safe, secure and loved at all times. Every foster carer commits their time and energy to the wellbeing and care of the children.

It is important to be there for the children so that they can trust and talk to you. It is also important to be patient, confident and have resilience with children. It is equally important to be observant and to recognize when you need to step in or seek assistance from the social workers when dealing with certain situations. According to information found at PerpetualFostering.co.uk, there are actually very few restrictions to becoming a foster parent. Foster carers are encouraged to learn from different experiences and life situations so as to develop their skills. All foster carers are provided with training before they are approved to foster. The training gives them an opportunity to learn to be the best and to get all their doubts cleared.

Difference between foster care and adoption

It is very important to understand the difference between the two. Although both the situations provide a permanent home for a child, there are certain differences. Adoption is a legal process which removes the right and responsibilities of the child’s parents and transfers them to the adoptive parents. The child has no inheritance rights from the family and will take the surname of adoptive parents. This is an entirely legal process and the birth parents can claim nothing from the adoptive parents after the process of adoption is complete.

Adopters will receive support from social services that has placed the child with them and they can also receive support from a voluntary agency which has approved them as adopters. Adoption is a lifelong commitment and there is no backing out of it. Parents receive post adoption support from an agency that has approved them. Initially, adoption was popular to place very young children but there are many children who are under two years old and up to twelve years old for adoption. For children with disabilities placed for adoption, the social services will offer an adoption allowance to the parents in order to support them.

Many adopters prefer to maintain the links of the child with their birth family and this involves the exchange of letter of face to face contact. In contrast, fostering has no legal procedure and does not provide the legal security to the child or to the foster carers. It continues until the child is 18 years old and the child is allowed to keep ties with their birth family. The birth family may also be involved in making decisions for the child and will have regular contact with the child. Foster carers work in coordination with the social workers so as to ensure that the child gets secure and safe environment. The foster carers are paid a weekly allowance to cover the cost of looking after a child and many agencies pay additional amount for children with disabilities or emotional problems.

Adoption of a child is a lifelong commitment you make and fostering can be short term or long term but it is not permanent. Hence, if you wish to become a foster carer, you need to be able to have the patience and the responsibility to look after a child. Do not take it easy or make a hasty decision which could impact the child negatively. You have to commit to the wellbeing of the child and ensure that every decision you make will be for the benefits of the child.

There are no special skills needed when it comes to adoption or being a foster carer, but you need to be mentally prepared for a full time job. You will be provided with training and complete support in case of fostering. You can have all your doubts cleared with the social workers before you make a decision to become a foster carer.

No comments

I love reading your comments!