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What is Foster Care Like?

If you’re thinking of becoming a foster parent, you may be wondering what is foster care like for foster parents, what foster care is like for children who are looked after? Or perhaps what is the hardest part of fostering overall? 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. Our foster parents 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, or what no one tells you about being a foster parent!

Fear not, we’re here to answer any worries, concerns or worries 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!

What is foster care like with regards to 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 (from initial call through to being approved) by our dedicated social workers.

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. Some people may not have even been aware that the application process takes 10-12 weeks. Just remember that we are here to support you throughout the process.

Skills to Foster.

During your application process, you will be asked to attend a short 3-day training course where you will gain the relevant skills you need to start your journey as a foster parent. Along this journey, you will have had the opportunity to discuss openly with your assessing social worker, with other prospective foster parents, our training manager as well as registered foster parents with Family Fostering Partners.  A comment we often hear is that foster parents have very little support, that may be true for some agencies and local authorities, however at Family Fostering Partners, we pride ourselves on ensuring that you can expect support right from the get-go.

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. To read more about the application process, click here.

Types of foster care; 

“What is foster care like for foster parents?”  this 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! For some foster parents, the hardest part of fostering on a emergency basis is that children often need care immediately, for a short period of time, and with very little prior notice. This would mean that your life as a carer would involve lots of children coming in and out of your home. Lots of our foster families love this as they get to make a difference to 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.

What is foster care like if you choose to foster on a long-term basis? 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! What is the hardest part of fostering on a long term basis? Well, it’s the same as any other family – ultimately there will be ups and downs when caring for children over a long period of time, and fostering is no different.

What is foster care like when it comes to your first placement. 

When thinking about what foster care is like, you may be imagining your very first child coming to live with you. Who will they be? What will they be like? What challenges may I come across? What will be the hardest part about offering foster care to this young person? And what is foster care like in practice?! We can’t predict what the first placement will be like, but we will ensure that any child who comes to live with you is ‘matched’ to your skills and abilities as best as possible. We know from experience that when children are matched with carers who are well-suited to their needs, foster families are happier and therefore children have a much better chance of flourishing.

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.  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 childcare.

What is foster care like for children who are looked after? 

Click here to hear from Davin, a care experienced individual who was supported by Family Fostering Partners foster parents.

What is the hardest part of fostering?

‘What is the hardest part about fostering’ is a question we are asked all the time, and in truth, the answer is subjective. Some foster parents thrive on offering emergency or short-term care at the drop of a hat, whilst others prefer the planned nature of long-term placements. Your assessing social worker will get to know you throughout the assessment process to understand what the challenges of fostering might look like for you, and to put in extra support and offer guidance.

What no one tells you about being a foster parent... 

Click here to hear from FFP Foster Parent Eddie on what it is really like to be a foster parent, and what no one tells you about being a foster parent.

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! 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 info@familyfosteringpartners.co.uk or by visiting our contact us page.

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