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.

Fostering Blogs

Burn out

Emma’s fostering blog

Burn out.

Self-care is just as important as caring for the child because if you burn out that won’t help your child. 

The FSW must help support you as children in care need extra parenting it’s very different to how you parent your own children. They can have complex behaviours because they have a lot to contend with emotionally, and have left their families behind, and are coming to a strange home to live with you.

Many Foster carers are afraid to say when they need more help, they don’t want to look as if they can’t cope or not doing a good job.

It’s important to build a network of support with other foster carers because there are definitely times that you will experience low and high points, they are the best support network you can have. They can help you to realise that you are doing ok and that they are facing the similar challenges, you might feel like they are the only other people who understand, as it can be really hard asking for help but especially if you haven’t built a good relationship with you FSW.

I hear this quite often, a genuine fear of carers worrying that their Agency or Local Authority will interpret a request for respite as a signal that the foster carer is already overwhelmed or not able to care for the children in their homes. During support groups I have seen many become tearful and upset as they can’t turn off their worries about the child; no one can care for them as well as they can, and sometimes even though they may foster with a partner, feeling that the sole responsibility falls on them.

Respite for the foster carer and child is a massive issue; worrying their children will not receive adequate care from the respite provider. I can understand this because at times when I have needed a break, I struggled with the unplanned, last minute respite, not knowing them, and feeling guilty sending a child to someone else, another stranger and I found it hard to sleep, relax, my mind constantly on the child I care for.

I know myself that there were times when I should have hobbies, but often I didn’t feel I  have the time, and sometimes I wasn’t sure what I liked anymore. You can struggle to self-identify!  Having a good FSW will recognise those signs, it’s vital you both build a good working relationship with planned support.

My thoughts are by being open about your needs also ensures the longevity of your role as a foster carer and can help reduce the risks to placement breakdown. Never think you won’t ‘burn out’ make it a priority, time for yourself and having fun.

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

However, it is important to be open and honest with your agency about your needs, which directly impacts the care of the children in your home.

Fostering Blogs

Professionals

Emma’s fostering blog

‘Professionals’

Harry has lived with us for 19 months and he has an educational health care plan, he is not at school and is getting just 4 hours a week education.

In September despite the fact that I knew this mainstream school wouldn’t meet his needs but the ‘professionals’ decided he would go there anyway, by February School were struggling to meet his needs. Harry couldn’t manage because he needed a specialist provision to help with the emotional and behavioural problems. Now attending for just 2 hours a day it was hardly surprising his behaviour was unmanageable, which resulted in weekly exclusions from school.

In July the headmaster informed me that they were unable to meet his needs any further. I felt like they were giving up on him, just like the last two previous schools and he was just 10yrs old having just 4 hours a week with a tutor at home. I found this totally unacceptable, I knew this would slow up the process, no contact with other children, poor social skills, and the only subjects covered are Maths and English.

It has been so difficult trying to meet his needs all day and every day and is now putting pressure on us as a family as he is becoming increasingly isolated from his peers. Then after 3 months I had a call from the Social Worker, she informed me that 4 schools were approached but unfortunately only one had responded, but I felt so relieved; until I found out that this school had already stated on two occasions that this school was not suitable to meet his needs. Surely if the headmaster thinks this school is not suitable, you have to ask why they are not listening to him!

Here we go again, is it right to attend a school that can’t meet his needs, are education setting Harry up to fail again.  I decided to take further action and wrote to a number of people at the council, it was really annoying that my concerns were not noted for some months, so I decided to contact an advocate on Harry’s behalf which looking back was the best thing I did, I felt listened to, and considered as a fellow professional; eventually he got into a specialist provision and went on to achieve so much.

I am not alone, it is a big problem as there are many ‘Looked After’ children that education are letting down and not enough is being done, in mainstream schools teachers are not trained on the many issues that affect our children and I believe they should be, without looking at what’s behind the behaviour, how can they help them.

My thoughts are we need a system that ensures education meets the needs of the individual, enabling every child to achieve their potential, so that every child receives an excellent education whatever their background and wherever they live.

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

Fostering Blogs

Medication

Emma’s Fostering Blog

Medication

It’s been two weeks since James came as an emergency from home, and he will stay here until they can find a suitable home for him.

He has a lovely nature with a great smile. He is fairly independent and willing to try new things but very much in need of nurturing and needs a lot of one to one adult time. He really loves being read to, playing football and being outside.

We are seeing major control issues, as in wanting to do only what he wants to do and throwing terrible tantrum so he defiantly needs strong boundaries, sanctions and rewards. James puts everything in his mouth, and he walks down the stairs as a much younger child would. I have never met a child so young who loves all food including spicy food, pickles, brown sauce, chillies it seems as if it’s quite sensory.

He is more tuned in to older boys as the first time he met my older son he ran to him and hugged him tight as if he had known him for years and he would rather hold his hand, sit next to him, than he would to me, as if he is not keen on woman.

We have established a bedtime routine, he goes to bed at 7pm but he can take over an hour to settle him.  After a week I decided to remove everything out of his room because he would get out of bed once I left the room playing, so after doing that he settled easier. James wakes like clockwork at 4.30am every morning shouting, singing, banging, he gets up and goes to the toilet a few times banging doors and shouting, he makes strange sounds and  swears, he does not go back to sleep, despite trying. He is so hyper at that time in the morning so you have to get up with him.

One of my major concerns is that I have no idea about this medication Melatonin he is on, whether alternatives were sought to address his underlying issues, how long he has been on this medication and whether he has some kind of addiction now to it, because on a couple of occasions he was screaming at me for more medication to help him sleep which I found strange as he is just 7 and I have not seen him tired since he has been here despite doing plenty of exercise and activities. I think sleep is important to everyone, how long can I manage such long days.  He is running on less than 8 hours sleep, despite the medication.

My thoughts are how much more can they increase this medication, I think he is addicted and the sooner he gets CAMHS input in helping to find an alternative the better. James staying with any Foster carers long term, for this to work, we will need to find an alternative.

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