Emma’s Fostering Blogs are by an experienced foster carer who gives you an honest and revealing insight into the ups and downs of foster care. A great resource for other carers and those interested in becoming carers.

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A Fostering Career?

Emma’s fostering blog

’Thinking about Fostering’

When you’re thinking about fostering, there is much to consider you obviously want to make a difference; you certainly don’t want to fail.

It’s important to do your research as they all sound great on paper! Think carefully about the impact fostering will have on your own family/ wider family as your family dynamic and relationships will change. Talk to your children first as fostering can have a positive, negative or mixed impact on them as they play a big role in fostering.

May is Foster Care Fortnight this is the Fostering Network’s annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and to show how foster care transforms lives. There will be many fostering events on, find out more about what fostering entails and there are foster carers on hand, so you will be able to hear what they say about the support, training and how the company works in general. 

The role of a foster carer is to make that difference, but don’t expect too much at first, children can come with complex issues from neglect. You need to be prepared; they have been let down time and time again, and it takes time for them to build trust with you before they can begin the process of healing.

So how do you choose who to foster for- my advice is to check with Ofsted; read the inspection reports in your area, I would choose one local as it’s so important that you build relationships with other foster carers for support as the job is emotionally draining. Look at the rating and about the company, and I would especially look at how carers are supported.

When you have decided, check out the recruitment events with the local authority and the private sector, ask lots of questions, speak to foster carers, ask them what they think about the support, and if they feel valued and listened to.

Don’t go into it because you think you can make money out of it because you can’t and I would be very careful about anyone offering high amounts of money to care for a child; as my experience says  be careful they may need far more than a foster home can offer. Most important- depending on the type of fostering, you may need to be in a child’s life for many years not just till they are 18, as often you are their support network through adulthood.

There is plenty of information around on fostering but I would recommend you look at the fostering network or if you have further questions for impartial advice you can contact Foster Line.

My thoughts are I never really knew how hard fostering was going to be emotionally or how challenging it would be. To watch a child grow into a confident and successful adult, knowing you made that difference is the best feeling you can experience.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!

Fostering Blogs

Food | Fostering

Emma’s fostering blog

Food.

Dan is 11 now and it’s been a year since he came to live here and despite making sure food is always available for him we are seeing many issues around food at home and in School.

Dan struggles with peers his own age, he gets very anxious and uses food for comfort.  There were issues when he lived at home because food wasn’t always available. Dan was hoarding food at first, I knew he felt less anxious by doing this, I guess he felt he might not get fed here; a survival mentality toward food, feeling there isn’t enough or it won’t be there the next time.

This has since stopped, however if food is around he will try anyway he can to get it, even if it means taking, persuading others, as he has done on several occasions. Last week school phoned as there have been issues in the dinner hall as Dan keeps going up for seconds and then if none is available taking students food.

I have tried everything but it doesn’t seem to make a difference whether he is on school dinner or pack lunches he just keeps on wanting more food. Complaints home that Dan keeps trying to help himself to drinks and biscuits from the cupboard in the form room at School.

When Dan comes home from school he has a snack and always a large healthy meal and not so healthy pudding. When he is given a meal he checks what everyone else has on their plate, eats quickly and scrapes the plate clean and gets every bit of food of his knife and fork.

When we go out to eat and drink it has to be the biggest not necessarily what he likes. Sometimes you can see his disappointment when food he has ordered doesn’t look as much as he thought it would, and in fast food places he always asks for the bigger meals.

We were away at the weekend; Dan asked if he could meet us at the bike ramp until we were ready to join him. About 10 minutes later we walked over to meet up with him but he wasn’t at the bike ramp. Dan was opposite sat at a table with a family we didn’t know, and he was playing on a DS that wasn’t his, and somehow he had managed to get them to buy him a drink and crisps!

My thoughts are eating disorders in foster children are almost always connected to control—either a child’s feeling of needing to control something ‘food’ when everything else feels out of control or a child’s feeling of the loss of control.

Food and routines and rituals that surround it – shopping, preparing, cooking and serving, cleaning up  are important parts of our lives, yet often we fail to recognise the symbolic or hidden meanings of these activities.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!

Fostering Blogs

Social Media

Emma’s fostering blog

‘social media’

It’s a tricky one managing social media and I guess we need to understand it’s a connection to their world which is very different to when I was a teenager. All we can do is help them to learn what is and isn’t appropriate.

We know our teens will push boundaries as they push for independence and adulthood. With Sam who is 12 years old it’s easier there are apps that can limit and see what she can use, and I can see where she is when she is out. For now she is accepting of this but as she gets older I’m sure she will rebel. We have an agreement between us I find this helps especially when she is arguing with me about how unfair everything is.

Mobile phones are a way of life, it’s their socialising, it’s their friendship groups, it’s how they learn, socialise, learn about the outside world, get music, learn about fashion – all the things children want to do. Everything is about social media and she is a natural at finding ways around the internet and social media. I go on training and just keep up with news on social media in general because I need to.

Rosie is 15 years old and she on the other hand has a very inappropriate attitude on social media, and before coming here she got herself involved in very risky and dangerous situations and for this reason, It’s such a pity that she has to have her internet restricted, but my primary concern is keeping her safe, and this can be so very hard to do.

I believe our role is to help them learn to keep safe in a digital world as well as a real world. I have to have a certain amount of trust that they will abide by the rules and when they don’t the phones are confiscated. At bedtime all phones are left downstairs so they can get a good night’s sleep.

There are reports that Insufficient sleep in adolescence has been linked to a range of mental health problems, obesity and poor performance at school and sleep being disturbed by notifications, and the temptation to continue online conversations into the early hours. We also restrict the internet for Sam, we have apps to keep her safe and she has to use it downstairs when we are around, we don’t allow any social media in her room.

My thoughts are no one app or setting can keep children and young people safe online, which means you need to start talking to your foster children about your concerns.

Without boundaries, kids just keep exploring. The rule; “If you wouldn’t say it, do it, or watch it with me in the room, it’s not okay.” I check their phones and tablets regularly.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!