As the UK celebrates Foster Care Fortnight from 9 – 22 May, The Fostering Foundation is sharing our top reasons why becoming a foster carer could be right for you.
The UK’s biggest fostering awareness campaign, Foster Care Fortnight, was established in 1997 to showcase the great work that foster carers in the UK do every day, as well as to highlight the thousands of children and families in need from the UK. In England alone, it is estimated that we will face a shortage of more than 25,000 foster families in the next 5 years.
This year’s theme is Fostering Communities, and organisations across the country will be taking this time to celebrate the amazing fostering communities doing all they can to support children and young people in need.
At The Fostering Foundation, we serve our communities in the South West of England – Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Exeter, Gloucester, Plymouth, Somerset, Torbay and Wiltshire – providing support, training and much more for foster families and prospective foster carers.
Crucially, our independent team includes foster carers, social workers, administrators, therapists and support staff, all working together to achieve the very best for children in need of our services.
To celebrate Foster Care Fortnight, here are just some of the benefits to joining our community of foster carers.
Make a difference
At The Fostering Foundation, we know from our many years of experience what a positive impact fostering can have on the entire family.
While providing a safe and stable home to a child or adolescent in need is a core impact to the fostering experience, we know that individuals can have very different needs. Perhaps you have medical experience or would like to teach life-skills to young parents; maybe you would like to support unaccompanied asylum-seeking children or help keep siblings together despite a family breakdown.
With so many different ways to give back, we welcome foster carers from all backgrounds and experiences. What’s more, we have often seen that the act of offering a child a stable base from which to thrive can actually lead to a better life for all involved – including the foster carers themselves.
It is important to know that although foster carers are the main source of care for placed children, you will work with a team of brilliant professionals who are all dedicated to achieving the best results for the children in your care.
Extend your family
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to foster care. Whether you are a young professional or have retired; have no children, children still living at home, or your own children have flown the nest, providing a place for a young person or siblings in need can simply add to the growth of your family unit.
We often see the bonds that are made between foster carers and young people last far beyond the time spent together and that’s true for the lifelong friendships forged between children, too. Since 2014, young people have the right to remain with their foster families from age 18-21 as part of a Staying Put arrangement if both parties want to extend their placement.
Whether you share common traits or celebrate each other’s differences, foster care can help build a better understanding of our communities as our families grow. In fact, many of our foster carers say they have much larger families than the traditional units – even once young people leave the home, they often stay in touch.
Learn specialist skills
Fostering isn’t easy, but whether you are considering providing a long-term home or exploring emergency placements or respite, The Fostering Foundation is here to provide you with all the tools you need to help your family and the young people in your care thrive.
We are committed to ensuring that all our foster carers receive the training and development they need, focusing on therapeutic approaches, which include training in Attachment Theory, PACE and Therapeutic Parenting.
We also offer training in First Aid, Child Protection, Managing Behaviours, Gender Identity, Internet Safety and Managing Feelings for Carers – and it’s easy to see how these short courses could benefit not just your parenting and guardianship skills, but crossover into work and life.
Benefit from 24/7 support
We are often asked about financial support for prospective foster carers and yes, your time and effort is financially rewarded with a weekly allowance that is determined by the age of the young person you look after and whether or not they have additional needs. We will also help guide you to the available financial packages and benefit that are there to support you in providing for your charge.
You will also receive support from our therapists, social workers and trainers in a range of areas that you might find necessary.
From training in how to help children manage change, to managing challenging behaviours, and simply understanding the needs of children in your care, we’re part of your team and ready to help you make a positive difference in a young person’s life.
To find out more about fostering, get in touch with The Fostering Foundation below