Foster Care, Parenting and Adoption
Providing foster care for a child has a lot in common with caring for a child as a parent, but being a foster carer is different to being a parent in some important respects:
- At the outset, you will obviously know far less about the child's likes, dislikes, worries, skills, attributes, personality and their prior life experience than you would with any own child
- As a foster carer, you will be working as part of a "team around the child".
- Most foster children need extra support to help them to catch up and overcome the effects of earlier troubled life experiences..
There are various different ways of providing foster care. As a foster carer, you could provide a child with a home for an emergency,
or short term period or on long term or permanent basis, or you could help a parent or another foster carer by providing
The main difference between fostering and adoption is to do with the legal arrangements. As a foster carer you do not acquire the legal
parental responsibility for the child, whereas adoptive carers gain legal parental responsibility for their adoptive child following
the making of an adoption order.
Foster Care: A unique blend of challenge and reward
Fostering can be both challenging and rewarding.
When considering fostering, it can be helpful to think about three main areas of challenge:
- The challenge of building a positive relationship with a new child and tailoring your child care approach to best meet the child's
unique individual needs.
- The challenge of working as part of a team and in circumstances where other people make the key decisions about the child
that you care for.
- The need to extend your existing child care skills to the highest possible level.
Fostering can also be extremely rewarding..
It can obviously be very satisfying to watch a child begin to thrive and prosper in your care, to see that a sad child is now happy and smiling again and to know that you have made a real difference to their lives.
Some of the child who are referred for foster care have very high level needs and need very specialised forms of care to meet
their needs but most referred children have individual needs that respond well to good, wholesome, warm, stimulating, nurturing,
family based care.
Some children find it difficult to settle in foster carer for a variety of reasons. Some children settle better with some foster carers than others. Occasionally,we have to move a child to different foster carers before they really settle, but most foster placements that our fostering agency makes work out very well for the children and our foster carers.
When we ask the children in our care about their experience of living with our foster carers, we generally get a very positive response from all of them.
Fostering is not right for everyone - but most people who join our service stay the course, really enjoy their new careers as foster carers and get a whole lot of personal satisfaction out of helping children. Most of our foster carers have been with us for a good long time.
Foster care works best and carers enjoy most success if there is a good match between the child's needs and the carer's skills and
qualities and when foster carers receive really good personalised support from their fostering agency.
If you genuinely want to help children, meet the basic criteria and are open to new learning, then we could enable you to enjoy
to this level of success too.