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When you leave the armed forces, finding employment can be tough. While there are a wealth of career paths open to servicemen and women, the idea of fostering vulnerable children and young people as a career is often overlooked.
Fostering may seem far removed from a life on the frontline, but military families often have fantastic transferable skills that they can utilise to offer a loving and secure home to vulnerable children and young people, and because fostering is increasingly seen as a profession in its own right, it can also provide you with a good income and great training opportunities.
Having already learned how to diffuse difficult situations and use practical ways to manage behaviours, ex-service personnel can often achieve objectives against all odds. Being in the forces means you will have had to think on your feet and work with others as a team, as well as adopting a certain sensitivity and diplomacy.
This training and serving in the forces is often an ideal foundation for a caring role – particularly helping guide older children and teenagers through life choices and preparing them for adulthood.
Fostering is both tough and challenging, as young people at times can display difficult behaviours and emotions as a result of their life experiences. Some young people may have experienced deprivation, neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse in their lives and they need special people to help them overcome the difficult odds life has thrown at them.
With this said, for every challenge you will be presented with when fostering, the reward of knowing that you’ve played a part in helping that child experience a safe environment where they feel supported and listened to, always triumphs. Becoming a foster parent means you can play a critical role in helping a young person recover from their bad experiences and develop a positive sense of themselves.
Being in the forces is all about supporting one another, working as a team and looking out for each other. Being a foster parent works on the same principles. For ex-service personnel, mentoring young people to develop key skills, confidence and motivation can come as second nature.
Foster carers are strong advocates for the young people they care for; always on their side, fighting for their rights and making sure their views are heard, but fostering is also about protecting young people so that they can recover from trauma and thrive and succeed in all aspects of life.
If you’re ex-service and think you could become a foster carer, you can talk to our helpful team at Family Fostering Partners. We are always here to answer any questions you may have before deciding whether fostering is right for you.
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