Emma’s fostering blog
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.