Fostering Deaf children.(12 Posts)
I am currently thinking of fostering and hoping to start the process soon. Having read all about how it works, we meet all the criteria, but I would like to foster a Deaf child/children and wondered if anyone had any experience or info to share with me. I can sign to intermediate level and work in a College (will be giving up work soon though) and have always enjoyed signing and working with Deaf students. We have no deafness members of our family though I am well educated on Deaf awareness/culture. I would be willing and able to take sibling groups.
Hi, I have been a foster carer for many many years, and in all that time I have only fostered one deaf child.
Is it long term (permanent) or short term fostering you are interested in?
It is likely that if you only wanted to take hearing impaired children you would have a long wait to find a suitable placement.
However, hearing impaired children are not the only ones to use forms of sign language. Makaton and Signalong are used for children with all sorts of communication difficulties. Perhaps this is something you may be interested in?
I have adopted my lo who has severe hearing loss after fostering originally. The main thing I would mention is the extra appointments for audiology, ENT and education workers who will attend weekly/fortnightly if fostering pre-school children along with regular speech and language appointments. This is in addition to the routine social work and support worker meetings, LAC reviews and other health appointments you will attend.
Often we had appointments every day for weeks at a time which was difficult.
Good luck and your skill will be welcomed by any LA I am sure
Thank you for your replies, they very helpful in bringing up some good points and things for me to consider. The websites only contain so much info and views from foster carers with experience are great to have. NinePeedles, I would definitely not restrict myself to only Deaf/Hearing Impaired, i would consider other children too. Just wondered how strict the Social Workers would be in allowing hearing families to foster Deaf children. Breaks in placements would not be a problem. I guess they'd take the best option available for the child at the time. I'm not sure on whether I'd be looking for short or long term placements, at this point I think I'd be ok with either. Do you have to decide on one or the other or can you just consider whatever comes along??
Tulips from Amsterdam, the frequent appointments is a good point to consider. My own son had a lot of hearing problems early on and I remember the constant appointments now you mention it.
Another question that I have is How strict are they in matching children with foster carers of the same race? We would be willing to accept children of any race so long as we could keep them in touch with their culture, which shouldn't be a problem as we have step kids and foster kids etc from different backgrounds in the family. Again I imagine they would take the best option for the child at the time.
Long term fostering is a permanent commitment to care for children until they reach adulthood.
Short term fostering is time limited; you care for the children until they go home, get adopted or long term fostered. Placements can very between weeks, or last over 3 years.
Initially I imagine you will be presented at panel to do one or the other as they are very different tasks. Having said that, I know of many experienced carers who do both.
Adoptive families can be hard to find for children with additional needs, so I imagine you might be a useful resource for a long term placement.
Alternatively if you are willing to take on anything, then you might enjoy short term too!
You have lots to think about; good luck!
What about short breaks placements for children with disabilities? Respite weeks /weekends?
I know a couple families with signing deaf children who are desperate for respite care and have it theoretically funded (child has other issues besides deafness), but can't find any respite fosterers who can communicate well enough to do it. Which suggests you might be in demand for that? I don't know if it's organised by the same teams who organise other foster placements.
Thanks to everyone for their input. You have all given me some useful info and insight as well as things to consider.
We fostered a child of dual heritage some years ago. It took months and months for us to finally be approved to have this child placed long term with us, and she was placed an hour's drive away from her placing authority. The authority had exhausted all avenues to find a placement that came near to matching her heritage, and to also cater for her very extreme behavioural problems and we were finally chosen to take her on the understanding that we promoted her heritage on an ongoing basis. The majority of children that we are offered have behavioural difficulties - often very extreme difficulties, so it may be worth you thinking about what kind of behaviours you might be comfortable with. For example you may be asked to have children who have been abused, but would you also take children who have sexually abused another child?
Also, short term placements can often lead to long term. We had a placement come for a couple of days five years ago... They are still with us today, and still classed as a short term placement by the LA!
Thanks FatherTedFan, for your input. I think I would want to start with cases like neglect at first and maybe as my experience increased take on abuse cases. But I would be maybe a bit apprehensive of taking on something like abuse straight away in case I was being unrealistic about what I could cope with. Do you ask for the abuse cases or have you gained a reputation with the social workers for being good with these cases hence getting offered them?
Do fosterers get pressured to take cases due to lack of carers or is it easy to say no if you feel the match wont work for you?
Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and experience everyone.
I've never been 'pressued' per se to take children who I don think are a good match, but I work for an agency. Friends who work for the local council certainly have had children placed with them who weren't good matches for their families. I think you are very sensible to want to ease yourself into it gently. The thing about abuse is often you don't know if a child has been abused when they are placed with you. If its the child's first time in care the back story is often pretty sketchy and sometimes it takes months for these things to come out. There are things we won't contemplate - like children who have a history of being unkind to animals, as we have a large number of pets, and fire starting! If you do the 'skills to foster course' you'll get the chance to talk about all these things, your expectations and how this matches up to the reality. Fostering is brilliant and can be really rewarding. I think the key is to be realistic about what you can and can't tolerate and be honest with yourself and the social workers about it. Good luck!
Thank you FatherTedFan, helpful and wise comments. Would anyone like to comment on the advantages of LA versus agencies? I wont be working once I start fostering and I don't mind periods between placements so I am leaning towards agencies at the moment but have little knowledge on this.
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