Duties and rules, explaining fostering
If you are thinking of becoming a foster carer and want to explain your plans to family and friends, you might find it helpful if you have an outline of the roles and responsibilities that foster parents undertake to help you describe what you would like to do. In reality of course it is very difficult to find a job description that truly covers the whole range of things that foster carers do, but that should not stop us from trying.
Good foster parenting always begins with the concept of providing a safe and caring home environment for a vulnerable child, one which can improve their lives make a real difference to their futures. However, most people who are thinking of fostering for the first time may not realise that in order to provide this sort of stability there are a range of skills you need to develop, and rules and guidelines you should follow, but please don’t panic because it will be Family Fostering Partner’s job to explain these to you and help you to meet the requirements of a good foster carer.
If we had to sum up fostering in a sentence, we would describe how foster carers take children into their homes at a time when they most need love, acceptance and support. A foster parent is part of a team who works with children and young people that have been taken into care by the local authority. You become a professional parent and a key member of that team, working with others to keep a child safe and secure. You provide love and safety, but also reports and paper work.
The local authority often turns to a fostering service such as Family Fostering Partners when they need foster care for a child, and this is where the job description becomes more specific, because different children need different types of foster care. Some children need a respite or emergency placement during a crisis, whilst others need a short-term placement to allow plans for their future to be agreed. Still others need long-term homes where they can spend the remainder of their childhood and grow and develop into confident adults. Sometimes, short-term placements become long-term arrangements and some even end up as adoption.
During your journey to become a foster carer for Family Fostering Partners you will have your own social worker from the agency who will help to shape and develop you to understand the specific responsibilities you will have as a foster carer, but they will also make sure you acquire the skills you will need to do your job well. You may be surprised how many of these skills you have already gained in your own parenting, in your work setting or through your personal experiences. It may also surprise you to know that some people fostering for the first time may already have the skills and experience to offer specialist care, for example placements for Parent and Child.
Family Fostering Partners will help you recognise your existing skills but will also discuss any areas where you can receive training and support to learn and improve.
What’s important to remember is that the type of fostering you chose may change your job description, but to ensure that foster carers provide the best possible care for all children, they should always be supported by their fostering service
If you are interested in knowing more about what it means to be a foster carer, contact Family Fostering Partners or fill in the form below.