No one fosters alone but what support can you expect when you foster? Foster support is now better than ever. So what kind of support is on offer and how can you make the best use of it?
When you apply to become a foster carer, you will attend an initial training course. This residential course is held over a few days and is an opportunity to examine some of the more common issues that foster carers can face.
Training is part of the support package that fostering agencies offer. Simply put, the more skilled foster carers are, the more successful placements there will be.
The trend of offering induction periods for people starting a new job has been around for some time. It is an opportunity to ease people in gently and to offer them a higher level of support.
With fostering, the culture change can be a shock to the system. Foster support through an induction period is therefore perfect for new foster parents.
Easing into a new career is exactly what carers need to really find their feet to work with foster children, and sometimes their birth families, in a really positive way.
Social worker contact
The foster child you look after will have a social worker attached to their case, just as you will have a social worker contact yourself.
Between these two professionals, you will be able to seek support and guidance in relation to the child you are looking after.
But it is also important for you to have a social worker you can contact to discuss any issues that may be worrying or bothering you.
And it is usually this person who acts as a contact for your family too. This is especially important if you have children of your own. At times, they may feel they need to talk to someone, and your social worker contact is a great listener!
On the one hand, fostering is for many foster parents a calling, a chance to make a difference.
But it is also a career, a role that is becoming increasingly professional in its training and outlook.
Foster carers can be highly trained specialists, offering therapeutic foster care, for example, for incredibly vulnerable children and young people.
But there are times when a foster carer and the family too, need a rest. They need some time together.
Many foster families opt for a holiday or respite when they have said goodbye to one foster child, taking this time to adjust before they welcome their next placement.
Foster carers have a range of training options open to them. This is another way that fostering agencies support their carers.
As well as gaining a nationally recognised qualification, it also equips carers to deal with situations that would otherwise be far more difficult to deal with.
Fostering allowances are paid to foster carers so that they can meet the expenses of raising a foster child.
As well as a generous weekly allowance per foster child, there are tax benefits too. And some benefits remain unaffected by fostering allowances also.
No one becomes a foster carer to become financially rich, but they become rich in life instead.
Impartial support service
It has to be recognised that at times, foster carers may have their own private frustrations and concerns.
There are various support helplines specifically for foster carers that offer an impartial listening ear, advice and support.
Groups and meetings
And finally, there are times when just spending time with other foster carers, talking, listening and laughing is just what a foster family need.
Fostering People have been changing lives together with foster carers and foster children for many years. Currently recruiting, they offer an enviable package of support to their foster carers and families.
This is a collaborative post.