Fostering is when you care for a child or young person who is not a member of your birth family. In most cases the foster child will live their foster carers on a full time basis but the amount of time they stay will be dependent on their own individual circumstances and needs.
Fostering is something that has been around for centuries where children would be placed into foster homes with people who were willing to provide a home for them. Things haven’t changed much, people still running foster care homes; however this isn’t always the best alternative for the child as they are better of living in one individual home where they will receive undivided attention.
There needs to be more parents that are willing to take care of these children, there so many children in homes and care where they are unhappy. Parents are often under the impression that because they already have a child of their own they are unable to foster any children, this is completely untrue, you can still provide a home for a child even if you already have a child of your own. This may be something that you want to discuss with your children first though, as you will not want to cause any disruption within your family.
There have been a number of occasions where families have adopted a foster child into their home and the parent’s original children have felt neglected and unloved, this most definitely isn’t the case from the view of a parent, but from a Child’s point of view it could look awful. This is why you should take the time to discuss matters with your children before deciding to become a foster carer.
Fostering a child is possibly one of the most rewarding things you could ever do in your lifetime, what could be more rewarding than providing a child with another chance at life in a loving and caring environment? You are also giving them a place they can call home. Living in a loving home is something that these children haven’t experienced for whatever reasons. You must remember that foster children come from a variety of backgrounds and will all have their own individual views on people and parents. It’s your job as a foster parent to help them understand why life is so good and how much fun it can be, and that you will care for them as if they were your own.
Quite often the foster children may have a lot that they want to talk to you about as they’ll have a lot that they wanted to get off their chest for years. Depending on the age of the child that you care for, you will gain an understanding of how to effectively deal with them and how to approach them, anybody over the age of 21 can foster child, with the child being from the age of 8 to 18.
How is parenting a foster child any different to parenting your own child?
- You will need to accept children on a number of development levels that may not reflect their chronological ages.
- You will need to work with the agency to set and achieve goals for the foster children.
- You will need to understand and accept that time with foster children is limited, and they could return to their birth families at any given time.
If you are interested in becoming a foster carer and have thought about it thoroughly then you should get in touch with your local authority or a fostering agency. They will point you in the right direction and tell you everything you need to know about fostering a child. You will need to choose an agency that takes you through the whole process and provides adequate amounts of help and support.
This guest post is brought to you by David Frederick from Pathway Foster Care , Pathway Care are an independent fostering agency that provide a range of high level foster services throughout Wales, the South West, and the South East of England.