Emma’s Fostering Blog. ‘I don’t work’
I am often asked about what I do for work, and then it’s the usual response ‘You’re a Foster Carer that’s amazing you’re so kind’ generally people don’t see fostering as a job.
I went through a rigorous recruitment and vetting process, and again when I moved agency. The children I care for have additional needs as they have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect and I am an expert in working with them. I agree being a parent is an important role in raising a family, but it’s all that, and more, in being a Foster Parent, the role, responsibility and the complexity of the task has grown over the years. We change the lives of children in our care with good parenting, but need our skills and knowledge through our training, under guidelines, policies and procedures. Children have various diagnoses, Special Needs, disabled, global delay and other emotional, behavioural or medical needs, and daily I am providing a safe environment for children to thrive in.
Every day I encourage Dan by reinforcing appropriate behaviours, we have boundaries, praise and rewards, and responding appropriately in any emotional or behaviour crisis. Each day I am working on those important life skills with Dan as he is a teenager.
At School I am an advocate for him, having discussions with teachers ensuring he has effective behavioural support, attending open evenings, sports days, driving to and from places. Dan has health care needs; dental check-ups, hearing and eye tests, and other appointments as they arise. There is therapy; physical, occupational, speech, CAMHS, administering medications. I believe in Dan, he needs this emotionally and I champion him, show love, listen and act, nurture him and show warmth and treat him as part of our family.
I provide holidays, fun, birthdays and Christmas planning. Dan has Social Worker visits, life story work, working together ensuring his physical and emotional needs are met. I facilitate seeing Dan’s birth parents and other family members. I have to provide accurate written daily records and pass on any relevant information on all his needs including developmental milestones and education. Yearly I attend Dan’s health assessment and twice a year his ‘Looked After’ child Review. Foster carers have a yearly annual Review, monthly supervision; support groups, meetings and training.
Meanwhile, we have to look after ourselves – we have to protect ourselves and our family from allegations. It’s important to consider our own health needs and other relationships that are important to us including our birth children’s needs and make special time for them- and Foster carer’s do all this- and it’s never a problem, because it becomes our way of life..
My thoughts are it’s amazing what Foster carers actually do! We need strong personal relationships with ‘Looked After children’ as it gives them the opportunity to be full member of the family and helps them feel that they belong.
Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!