We've been chatting to our foster carers to get their view on the key things to consider if you're interested in fostering.
Do you love children?
As a foster carer, you’ll need to love spending time with children and also understand and be interested in child behaviour. You might have a child with emotional or behavioural challenges and so you’ll need to be prepared to support them during difficult times.
Is the time right?
Fostering takes up a lot of energy so applying to foster after a big life change or if you have really young children who require lots of your time and attention means it might not be the right time. If you’re not sure, give us a call and we can talk it through with you.
Do you have the time?
Fostering is a full time job. You’ll have training sessions to attend, regular meetings and reviews with your social workers, contact arrangements to agree with the child’s family and social worker, foster carer events, meetings with the school, plus many other requirements of your time. Things will also come up unexpectedly and you’ll need to be available when and where the child needs you. Unless your job is extremely flexible, foster caring will need to be your full time role.
Do you have the support of your family and extended family?
Your foster child will become a member of your family and so if you have children of your own, they will need to be fully accepting of your role as a foster carer and understand what fostering is. They’ll also be part of the assessment process and we’ll spend some time with them to get to know them and to make sure they are happy for you to begin fostering.
Your foster child will need to be integrated into the family and will come with you to all family events and functions just as your own children do. Therefore your extended family will need to be supportive and accepting of your new role as a foster carer.
Are you committed?
The process to become a foster carer is lengthy (about 6 months from beginnning to end) and thorough, so you will need to be committed. Also there will be challenging times and so it’s important that you are committed to your role as a foster carer and to the child in your care so they don’t face more instability.
Are you resilient?
Fostering is not an easy job. It’s highly rewarding, fun and varied but it can also be very challenging at times. Things don’t always go to plan and situations can test your patience and be frustrating so you’ll need to develop resilience so you can bounce back and let things go.
Can you cope without the fostering income when you don’t have a placement?
There may be some months when you don’t have a foster placement so it’s important that you’re able to cope financially during these times if you’re the main earner in the household.
Are you good at building relationships?
A major part of being a good foster carer is being about to form and sustain good, strong relationships with multiple people. This applies not only to building relationships with the child in your care but also social workers, the child’s extended family, other foster carers, the child’s teacher, other key workers at school and the many other people around the child in care.
Do you want to do a rewarding job?
There are very few jobs which are as interesting, varied, challenging and rewarding as being a foster carer. You will learn lots about yourself, your triggers and your strengths as well as lots about child behaviour and resilience.
Whatever happens we’ll be there to support and advise you throughout your fostering journey so you’ll never be alone.
As most of our foster carers tell us, it’s the most rewarding thing they’ve ever done.
If you've got qustions or want to find out more join us on Wed 17th April at 6pm at the Hove County Cricket Club and meet our carers, our social workers and find out if fostering could be for you.
Alternatively please pick up the phone or send us an email to have an informal chat with us.
Phone - 01273 295444
Website - www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/fostering