There are many emotional, social and economic benefits to becoming a Foster Carer. Ultimately, fostering makes a positive impact on children and young people’s lives. Even if you only have a child for a short period of time, you have the ability to nurture the child, teach lifelong lessons and set positive examples for their future.
The many benefits of becoming a Foster Carer include:
– Making a difference to a child’s life
– Experiencing a sense of achievement from helping others
– Enjoying having children in your life
– Gaining satisfaction from helping a child learn and develop
– Having an opportunity to use your parenting or life skills
– Helping your own family learn to share and care for others
– Taking on a fresh challenge, whatever your age
Fostering is a way of providing a safe and stable home and family life for children and young people who are unable to live with their birth family, ideally for as long as they need it. Children and young people may not be able to live with their own parents or extended family for a variety of reasons. These could include family breakdown, parents/carers suffering health problems or situations where a child or young person is at risk of significant harm.
The provision of a safe, secure and accepting family environment can offer a child or young person a safe haven, afford protection, offer acceptance and assist them to restore hope, confidence and self-belief. So often about beginning to understand the past, feel comfortable in the present and begin to believe in the future the contribution of a foster home is immense.
Every child and young person is unique and their experience of family can be very diverse. Likewise there is no typical or ‘blueprint’ foster family, some children and young people might prefer a single foster carer, others a two carer family, some like big families, living with other children, others are not so comfortable. One of the greatest strengths of foster care is the diversity of family type, regardless of your experience, skills and circumstances you may be able to make a real difference to the life of a child.
There is no blue print to becoming a Foster Carer. It isn’t about status or lifestyle, Foster Carers come from a variety of backgrounds. The most important factor is that you are willing and able to offer a child stability and support.
There are a few key factors and requirements that firstly need to be met to be able to foster:
Be over the age of 21
Have a spare bedroom
Be a British citizen, or have permanent leave to remain
Be patient, committed, understanding and resilient
You can be:
Single, married or divorced
Male or female
A parent with young children, with grown up children or no children
A single parent
In a same sex relationship
Employed or unemployed
Here at Clifford House Fostering we are working alongside a host of placing Local Authorities to provide a range of mainstream fostering homes. This is the most common type of fostering. Our valued foster carers provide care for children all of ages from 0-18 years old. These arrangements might include siblings, teenagers or very young children. Some last for a few days and others a few months, it all depends on the needs of the child.
Our dedicated team will support you and your family through the initial training and assessment to decide the type of fostering where you feel you can make the biggest difference.
The majority of children and young people, when they first need foster care, are under short term arrangements. They can vary in length from a week to a couple of years. These arrangements are invaluable as they provide the child with the secure and caring environment they need, whilst professionals, families and the child have an opportunity to work together to decide on their future.
The hope will always be to achieve permanence for any child whether that is living back with their birth family, extended family members, through adoption or long term fostering.
Emergency fostering is responding to the immediate need for a child or young person at short notice whether that is in the day time, evenings or weekends. Availability and flexibility are essential in what can be a very rewarding area of fostering.
Long-term foster care is one of the most beneficial types of fostering. This can achieve the stability and security for a child’s entire childhood. For children and young people it creates a sense of belonging and reflects a commitment on both the part of the foster family and child. Unlike adoption, the children remain the legal responsibility of the local authority, and fostering allowances continue to support the wonderful care of the Foster Carer.
Parent and Child Arrangements
Fostering provides many creative ways of keeping families together and offering a chance to sustain relationships. One example is the parent and child arrangements we offer at Clifford House Fostering. We offer specialist training, support and guidance to our foster carers who want to offer a chance by providing a home for both the child and one, or both, of its parents. Usually this will mean fostering teenage mothers with babies.
These may be pre-birth placements, to help the mother prepare for the arrival of her baby. Or they may be a parent who needs some help to learn basic care skills, and how to provide a safe, nurturing environment for their child.
Short break or respite fostering is such an important support to foster carers, foster children and their families, giving them a well-deserved break and chance to re-energize. All our foster carers receive 14 days respite leave a year should this be needed.
As your fostering career progresses, skills and experience build, you may be interested in providing more specialist areas of care to children and young people with complex needs. At Clifford House Fostering we provide specialist training and support in developing fostering households with the capacity and skills to offer a range of very special homes.
The Staying Put scheme is designed to support young people through their independence and beyond. This type of arrangement enables young people aged 18-25 to remain connected to a loving, nurturing environment in which they are already comfortable and secure.