phil foster parent

“Fostering is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. To know that you are going to impact somebody’s life for the better is one of the greatest gifts any job can give you.” 

-Phil Walters 

Meet Phil, an exemplary foster parent here at Clifford House. Phil and his wife Leanne are experienced foster parents who have been fostering with us for 7 years and who work hard every day to help change the lives of children in the Midlands.  

Phil is an excellent example of the kind of foster father we’re celebrating this month at Clifford House. To celebrate Father’s Day, let’s explore the vital role of male foster parents, whether single or in a relationship, and look at some ways which you can help ensure that Father’s Day this year is an enjoyable experience for your foster children.  

The Importance of Male Role Models for Foster Children

Positive male role models are important for all children. Children will naturally imitate those around them, and having strong role models shows them a good example of how to behave and how to treat others.  

For children whose birth fathers are in some way absent— be it through loss, a poor relationship, or having never had a father figure present in their lives— foster fathers can be life-changing, providing children with a healthy model of masculinity and someone to look up to. For foster children who maintain a strong and healthy relationship with their birth father, foster dads provide an additional pillar of love and support.  

How to Celebrate Father’s Day as a Fostering Family

Father’s Day can bring up a range of difficult emotions for looked-after children, who may have complex feelings about their birth parents. It’s important to be mindful of their feelings when deciding how you and your fostering family will be celebrating this year. Here are some ways in which you can help your foster child to get the most out of Father’s Day. 

There are no rules about how Father’s Day should be celebrated, or who should celebrate it.  Make it clear to your foster child that you as a family can choose to celebrate any way you like. Have a chat with your foster child and discuss your options as a family. You might even decide to remove the word ‘father’ from the day entirely, and just enjoy the day together as a special Family Day.  

Be mindful that some children may find the idea of celebrating too overwhelming this year. You may decide that treating the day like any other is the best option to help get them through the day.  

One great way you can help your foster child to have a positive experience on Father’s Day is by taking a holistic view of the holiday. While Father’s Day is traditionally about male parents, there are plenty of families out there who choose instead to celebrate other healthy male role models. These could include grandparents, foster dads, a family friend or an uncle. 

Father’s Day is all about showing our gratitude to an important person in our lives, and this doesn’t have to be restricted to gender. People of all genders should be celebrated for the love and care they show us, and a non-traditional Father’s Day is the perfect opportunity to say thank you to any special person in your young person’s life.  

Some children may struggle with feeling different from their peers around Father’s Day. Remind them that all families take many different shapes, and that’s a wonderful thing. All families, whatever shape they take, are worthy of celebrating.  

Inclusive story books which portray different family structures are a great starting point for younger children, and for older kids, watching TV shows or finding online influencers who positively portray blended and diverse family groups can be a great way of normalising differences and starting a conversation.  

If your child attends a school, playgroup or Sunday school, they may be asked to take part in Father’s Day celebrations such as creating an art project or a card. This can leave some looked-after children feeling excluded.  

You can help negate these feelings by preparing your child in advance. Discuss with them another important role model in their life who they could make a card for, such as a foster parent, family friend or sports coach. You could also help them to rehearse what they might say if other children ask them about why their class project looks a little different. Knowing what they might say if they are asked questions about their birth father can help them to feel prepared for conversations which might otherwise be difficult in the moment.  

If you choose to celebrate the day together as a fostering family and you have birth children in the home, it’s important to do your upmost to ensure that your foster child feels included. Be aware that your foster child is at risk of feeling like an outsider on a day like this, no matter how long they have been a part of the family.  

One way to help your foster child feel included is by celebrating with an activity which the whole family can enjoy together, such as by going out to see a movie or venturing out for a sunny picnic.  

However you and your family choose to celebrate this year, we here at Clifford House wish you all a very happy Father’s Day.  

Three Cheers for our Foster Parents

The Clifford House team would like to say a massive thank you to Phil and all of the foster parents out there who go the extra mile every day to make sure that their foster children are safe, happy and thriving. 

Would you love to be a positive role model for a young person in need of a loving home? Get in touch with our team today to learn more about becoming a foster parent in the Midlands and surrounding areas.