Could you become a foster carer?
People with ‘big hearts’ and ‘emotional intelligence’ make the best foster carers. You need to actually CARE and NURTURE and go the ‘extra mile’ if you really want to positively affect children’s lives.
Our Local Authority partners need a wide range of people to meet children and young people’s very different needs. Children need foster carers who reflect and understand the child’s heritage, ethnic origin, culture and language.For precisely these reasons: ‘Children Always First’ welcomes carers from all types of backgrounds.
- Do you have at least one spare bedroom?
- Do you have the time and commitment required?
- Can you drive and do you have access to a car?
- Are you aged 25 or over/ or if not is your partner?
- Are all of your birth children aged 5 years old or more?
- Are you in reasonable health?
- And, primarily, can you keep children safe?
If you can answer yes to the above questions then we would certainly like to talk to you but becoming a foster carer is a life-changing decision. Caring for children and young people who have had often damaging and traumatic experiences in their own families is a challenging and demanding task, but it can also be extremely rewarding.
Children Always First expects a lot from our foster carers, but if you have resilience, empathy and a genuine interest in helping damaged children, we believe we can support you in this challenging role.
Children Always First is looking for prospective foster carers in the West Midlands region. We are based in Bromsgrove so we are keen to hear from households based in Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Birmingham and Solihull. We may be able to help you in other areas but only if we believe we can support you to our own high standards. Feel free to phone and ask!
We welcome applications from people of all ages, backgrounds and circumstances as many people could become successful foster carers and we believe nearly everyone has the potential to be an effective carer with the right child. Children Always First remains committed to anti-discriminatory practise and equal opportunities, and this is reflected in our approach in recruiting a diverse group of both staff and carers.
People do not need to be married to become a foster family – they can also be single, divorced or cohabiting. Gay men and lesbians can also become foster carers and Children Always First positively welcomes applications from all under represented and minority groups. We love working in diverse environments and positively celebrate the opportunity to learn from each other.
Every carer is the key to a child. No foster carer can be the key to every child. Children Always First takes great care to match children and carers in order to create long term, sustainable, happy, warm placements.
There are also a number of key skills and attributes that prospective foster carers should have, or be prepared to acquire:
Working as part of a team /working with other foster professionals
Fostering is a complex task undertaken by teams of people if it is to be of high quality. You are not in this alone and you will be relied upon to work as part of a team whether that is with child’s family, the Local Authority or Children Always First.
Foster carers may also work with other professionals such as therapists, teachers or doctors to help the child to deal with emotional traumas or physical or learning disabilities. With our support, you can care for a child or children placed in your home by the agency. Working in partnership with the Children Always First staff, the child’s family and other professionals, you will help these children fulfil their potential and achieve security, stability and happiness.
Resilience and patience
We need carers who will stick with children even when being tested. Children in care often have very little reason to trust adults. For many of these children they are leaving behind an early experience of inadequate parenting including abuse, neglect and/or exposure to the trauma of living with domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse. Early experience of separation, loss and inadequate parenting is likely to leave a mark.
Children in care are at an increased risk of attachment difficulties. An attachment difficulty occurs when a child struggles to trust a carer, compromising the affectional bond between them. Attachment difficulties leave the child at an increased risk of later developmental and emotional problems whilst the experience of a secure attachment acts as a protective factor against later adversity. We need carers who understand this and will work over the long term to restore their faith and prove not all relationships fall apart.
We need carers who get the bigger picture and really want to make a difference rather than those who see fostering as a ‘job’. That is why our support is ‘wraparound’, tailor-made and consistent. We are always there for you and what ever challenges you may encounter we guarantee you will never be on your own or isolated.
Empathy, determination and commitment
We need carers who really care. We need people who can put themselves in the shoes of the children and see it from their point of view. We need carers who see fostering as a professional task and view each child as individuals with unique life experiences that have undoubtedly impacted on the child that we see before us.
We need carers who will be committed to contributing to the child’s life and integrating them fully into the family. According to the age and abilities of your child you’ll have to deal with basic tasks like washing, dressing, feeding, getting him or her ready for school. Then there’s the extra laundry, shopping, bed-making. You’ll be helping with homework and encouraging your child to keep up with school, hobbies and friendships. In every way possible you’ll be trying to build their confidence and self-esteem. You’ll make sure that a child’s health needs are taken care of and they attend regular dental and optical checks. You’ll be meeting with social workers, teachers, parents and other people concerned about the child, and you will help the children keep up contact with their parents or other family members.
IT and recording skills
We have deliberately become a paperless office and that means everyone in the company will need to utilise our simple IT systems for recording. They are built for ease of use and we provide relevant training for all our carers. IT remains an essential part of what we are trying to achieve and we need carers who can embrace this.
A genuine interest in making a difference
As we keep saying… you have to CARE. You have to see your role as getting children back on track rather than necessarily substituting their parents. This takes time, genuine interest and affection. This is not a job. It is a vocation. It’s what we do at Children Always First. Every child is an individual who matters and we work tirelessly as a team to create the best possible outcomes for each young person.
What do children and young people want from a foster carer?
Children and young people, when asked, consistently say they would like the following attributes in a foster carer:
- to keep them safe and happy
- to help, support and advise them
- to listen
- to treat them with respect and as equals
- to care for and love them
- to trust them
- to give them freedom
- to spend a lot of time with them
- to look after their basic needs
- to feed them healthy food
- to be kind and gentle
- to help them with their homework
- to help them to develop independence
- to be a good ‘parent
- to provide a normal family atmosphere
- treat them like they’re your own