Quite simply, foster children deserve to be looked after by the best people society has to offer and all the evidence points to foster carers as being the best alternative care service for children who cannot live with their family. The best foster carers naturally have children’s welfare as their priority and have the potential to continually develop their skills through formal training and day to day fostering expereince.
Love is not enough when fostering children, foster carers have to work within the legal framework and Fostering Regulations, the expectations of their fostering agency and Local Authorities.
Foster carers need to ensure that all of the members of the fostering family are listened to and that everyone feels secure in their position in the family. They have to work as part of fostered children’s care plans, set clear boundaries, be consistent, aware of children’s feelings and be seen to be fair by foster children.
Foster carers need to build trust and mutual respect whilst expecting that their family rules will be tested.
The most successful foster carers possess real empathy with children and their situation. They foster for the right reasons; their primary motivation is to make a positive difference in children’s lives.
Successful foster carers have resolved any painful issues in their past and have moved on to become emotionally stable adults who can make and maintain positive relationships and are able to ‘let go’ and to support children they have fostered to move on.
For children and foster carers to have the best chance of a successful placement, there needs to be sufficient choice of foster placement.
There is a year on year deficit in the numbers of foster carers in the UK and many more people need to be encouraged to consider fostering as a career.
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