Fostering a child is a very serious and challenging commitment, but can provide enormous rewards. Foster carers come from all walks of life, cultures and religions and can be married or single. If you have experience of looking after children, a spare bedroom and are willing to care for a child as part of your family, here are five reasons to consider fostering a child.
There are many reasons why children find themselves in care and every child has different experiences prior to coming into care. The chance to make a difference to a child’s future and provide them with a good experience of family life is the reason many foster carers give for choosing to care. Foster carers are needed from many different social circumstances, so that children can be looked after by people from the same cultural or religious background. You will need commitment and enthusiasm and it is not always plain sailing, but knowing that you are providing a caring and supportive environment for a child who needs it is a reward in itself.
Using Your Home
Sometimes people who are unable to have children of their own, or whose children have grown up and left home choose to foster. Fostering a child means caring for them as you would a family member, with all that is involved in this. It is a full time commitment and if you have experience of looking after children, considering private foster care may be for you. Placements can be a short or long term, lasting for days, months or years. You need to provide the child with a room of their own so they can enjoy some privacy and their own space.
If you consider fostering a child, you will find yourself as part of an organization that promotes interaction between foster carers. As well as attending organized events such as regular meetings, social events and outings, there will be opportunities to discuss issues that may arise with both your supervising social worker and other more experienced foster carers. You will also come into contact with other parents when carrying out day to day tasks such as taking children to school or play group.
Before fostering a child for the first time, foster carers receive comprehensive training to find out what is involved in caring for children in foster care. Because these children may have experienced difficulties, neglect or abuse in life, the training will include how to deal with challenging behaviors, understanding how the child experiences coming into care, first aid and many other topics designed to equip you for the work.
The allowances paid to foster carers vary according to the type of placement, but reflect the importance of caring for these children. You will also benefit from paid holidays each year. As fostering is a full time commitment you will not be able to work outside the home and the allowance you are paid makes it possible to give up paid employment to pursue a career as a foster carer.
About the Author
Ray Lomas is an experienced social care writer and commentator. He has written for websites and printed media on trends in private foster care.
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