What is Foster Care Like?
If you’re thinking of becoming a foster parent, you may be wondering what foster care is really like? Our foster families love the opportunity foster care provides for them and the wonderful children and young people they get to share their lives with. It’s an amazing thing to do and our carers find the role extremely rewarding and satisfying. From the outside, however, you may be wondering about the ins and outs of foster care and what it’s like to be a foster parent full-time.
Fear not, we’re here to answer any worries, concerns and niggles you may have. Read on to find out more about the foster care process and the different ways you can help make a difference. Of course, if you don’t find the answer to your question, please get in touch!
The application process
If you’re thinking about fostering, you may be wondering what the application process will be like, how long it takes to become a foster carer and what support you will get along the way? You can be sure that you will be supported throughout the entire process by our dedicated link workers who will provide you with all the relevant information and documentation you need to make an informed choice.
If you choose to proceed with your application after an initial home visit, then the assessment process will begin. This can take between 10 and 12 weeks and during this time we will visit your home regularly to collect relevant information about you and your family and carry out required checks. This part of the process sometimes makes our applicants nervous, and we understand your apprehension! Just remember that we are here to support you and make sure you are comfortable during the entire process.
During this, you will be asked to attend a short 3-day training course where you will gain the revenant skills you need to start your journey as a foster parent. Finally, once your assessment is complete, the report will be presented to the fostering panel who will make a recommendation on your suitability to foster.
We intend to make the application process as smooth, easy and relaxed as possible for our carers. We know that you are eager to begin fostering and that you are passionate about making a difference, but we need to ensure you are right for the role. Safeguarding children is always our main priority.
Types of foster care
What foster care will be like for you will be dependent on the type of care you decide to provide. There are many different types of foster care and each parent will have a different experience of providing care. After all, children are unique, unpredictable and full of life - no two children will be the same or have the same care needs. This is part of the fun and the challenge of fostering!
If you decide that short term or emergency fostering is where you want to specialise, then you will need to be ready to take on a child with quite short notice! Emergency placements often need care immediately for a short period, maybe only a couple of days. This would mean that your life as a carer would involve lots of children coming in and out of your care. Lots of our foster families love this as they get to make a difference in hundreds of young people’s lives, providing them with a safe and loving refuge when they need it. It also provides flexibility as you will only be looking after children for short periods of time.
For other foster carers, long-term placements are preferable. Foster care for those who want to take on long-term placements will differ completely to those who take on say, respite care. Long-term placements require commitment and the ability to provide a stable home to a child for possibly years, often through to adulthood. Foster care for those with long-term placements will often just feel like a normal family home!
Your first placement
When thinking about what foster care is like, you may be imagining your very first child placement. Who will they be? What will they be like? We can’t predict what the first placement will be like, but we will ensure that the foster child is ‘matched’ to your skills and abilities as well as we can. We know from experience that when foster children are matched with carers who are well-suited to their needs, foster families are happier!
We always want to make sure that placements are successful, and you will be a big part of this process. No decisions will be made without you. You are an important and valued member of the team!
We understand that you may have some nerves about your first placement and be wondering what it will actually be like. Be sure that you will be well prepared and have all the necessary skills and training you need to be ready for the role. We provide a comprehensive training package that will cover everything you need to know. Plus, we provide extra training programmes for any carers who wish to offer specialist care, such as parent and child care.
Fostering is an adventure, and as much as you study and prepare, nothing can compare to the experience of taking the leap and just doing it! So, if you’ve been pondering what it’s like to be a foster parent, now’s the time to take action. Family Fostering Partners will be here every step of the way to support, guide and help you. Get in touch by calling us on 03300 948816, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or filling out the contact form below.