You’ll have many questions about fostering and what you can offer a child in care. Getting into fostering can appear to be a long and daunting prospect. But considering the trauma some children in care have experienced, it is critical that the fostering agency select the right people.
Just how do you get into fostering and start making a difference?
THE FIRST STEP: Information gathering
Just like how every foster child is different, every potential foster carer has something different to offer.
The first step is to determine what you can offer and what fostering really means to you and your family.
That means getting more information that is concise and clear about what the fostering process is all about.
As well as fostering through your local social services, you can also foster with a private agency. Find out more about what each offers in the way of support, training, and allowances.
THE SECOND STEP: Home visit
Once you have decided to foster, a fostering advisor from your chosen agency will visit you in your home.
Essentially, they are visiting you in what will be your ‘workplace’, the place that foster children will call home.
If you decide to continue, you can start the fostering application process.
THE THIRD STEP: The application process
For obvious reasons, the fostering application process takes time. A fostering agency will want to be confident you have the right approach and the right skills through training.
They will need to assess and be confident that the home environment is not only safe but nurturing too.
Rather than seeing this process as onerous, many foster carers see it as a chance to work through the many issues that they could be faced with.
There will be many home visits as part of this fostering application process, all of which are important in matching foster children to what you can offer.
THE FOURTH STEP: Foster training
Fostering is the same as parenting but with extra pressures and issues to deal with.
Foster children are often traumatized – sometimes, we are not fully aware of what a child has witnessed or been subjected too for many years to come, if at all – and this can create all kinds of negative behavior patterns.
Training will equip a foster career with a basic skill set, tools that they can use to work and engage with foster children in their care.
A fostering agency will also offer additional training right through your fostering career. Some foster carers then go on to offer specialist fostering placements, such as parent and child placements.
THE FIFTH STEP: The fostering panel
With your application form complete, paperwork in place and initial fostering preparation training accomplished, it is now time for your application to go before a fostering panel.
This group of people who are foster carers, social workers and other members of the community will make a recommendation on whether you should be approved as a foster carer.
The foster panel may request to meet you, something that sounds daunting, but it isn’t! Essentially, the fostering application process is about getting it right for the children who need a foster family.
THE FINAL STEP: Your first foster placement
Once approved, the fostering agency will look to place a child or children with you.
This may be the final step in the application process, but it is the first step in your fostering career.
Fostering is challenging and daunting at times. For a child unsure how to return care, attention, and love, it can feel like you are not making a difference.
But with time and perseverance, and with your patience, love, and care, a foster child in your care will flourish.
You are making a difference. And one that lasts a lifetime.
Challenging but rewarding, being a foster carer is a big step for you and your family. Foster Care Associates are recruiting people just like you – why not give them a call 0800 023 4561?