About foster children
The foster children
Children from birth to 18 years of ages, and from various cultural and social backgrounds need to be placed in foster care for many different reasons.
Children’s circumstances will vary dependent on their individual needs and family background. Whatever the circumstances, the children will be separated from their parents and will need foster carers to help them at a difficult time.
Many will be deeply upset about being away from their families and may be “difficult” to care for when they first come in to foster care. However, this doesn’t mean that all children in foster care are “problem children” and many, given sufficient time to settle, are likely to be as “difficult” as any other child.
Some children and young people will need very experienced and specialist trained foster carers because of their difficulties or abuse, and these will be more difficult to care for. However, their experience of being removed and put into care is more likely to less traumatic for them as many say later that they felt it was a better option than remaining with their carers, and many felt their foster carers worked hard to help them.
Foster caring can be challenging and demanding for all the family, and the family values such as respect, honesty, care and love can be tested by foster children who may have grown and developed with distorted family values such as, dishonesty, disrespect and non-caring parents.
In the beginning, life in an ‘ordinary’ family will be a new, challenging experience for most foster children.
Settling children and young people into a new foster home has differences but many similarities to settling any child. Children like to be called their favourite name, they want people to know what they like doing, their likes and dislikes and that any special religious or cultural preferences with be respected.
Foster carers need to ask a child about their dummy, teddy or a comfort blanket. The clothes children arrive in are important and should never be criticised or thrown away, they are a significant part of a child’s identity and an important physical link with their family.
Often foster carers need to make some changes in their day to day life to meet the needs of each child; a four year old will have very different needs to a fourteen year old girl or boy, they will have different likes and dislikes.
Flexibility is a must for foster carers, and how flexible the fostering family can be, will determine the number and different types of placements the foster carer can look after.