Fostering is multi-faceted and incredibly rewarding – no two days are ever the same. Your responsibilities change depending on a child’s needs and age. Firstly, foster parents must provide a loving and safe environment in which foster children can thrive. This includes allocating them a bedroom to appreciate their need for security and privacy. Giving foster children the same responsibilities as birth children can help establish reliable routines, rewards and repercussions. Not only will they feel included in family life, but enhances their feelings of stability. Supporting a child’s physical development is crucial. It is your responsibility to ensure they have access to medical care when they need it and have adequate transport to get to and from appointments, be that a car or public transport services.
Some children placed in care may also have disabilities that require medical attention. Being displaced from your home and taken into care can be very traumatising for any child or young person. Being surrounded by people they don’t know in a different environment can be distressing. The love and support provided by an understanding, dependable and trustworthy adult is an invaluable asset a foster parent can provide to the well-being of the child. It will help them to settle and eventually grow and mature. Any child you foster, if of age, must be enrolled in and attend a school. Education is a vital part of a child’s development. It is important that being taken into care doesn’t affect their learning. A foster parent must take an active interest in their foster child’s education. Where possible, maintaining a relationship with birth families is essential.
The ultimate goal of foster care is to temporarily look after a child until they can return to their birth parents. Therefore, a foster parent must promote healthy contact between the foster child and their family and work with the placing local authority care plan to ensure contact is maintained and managed appropriately. Fostering is a learning process. It will be your responsibility to ensure you are proactive in improving your skills and becoming the best foster parent you can be, really making a difference to many children’s lives.