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Idiot's Guide to Fostering

(15 Posts)
Panadbois Mon 13-Feb-12 20:39:46

Hi, Sensationsmad here with new name smile

I noticed that on Amazon that there is a 'Complete Idiot's Guide to Adoption' and was wondering, what would you put in an idiots guide for those going through an assessment and current foster carers.

I would like to see a section on 'what to do if.....' ( list loads of possible crisis/ dilemas etc)

Panadbois Tue 14-Feb-12 09:44:10

Nobody? Oh well, I'll go again then.

How long does an assessment take?

What happens at panel?

Who are these people? Guardian/ LAC SW

What to do if teen LO doesn't come back at curfew?

How to prepare for new placement?

how to prepare for goodbyes?

SimplyTes Tue 14-Feb-12 09:57:01


I am a recently qualified foster carer. It took 8 months to qualify (we were fasttracked, didn't realise at the time!) Then another year to pass all other courses (CWDC)

At panel we were asked questins by about 10 people - most seemed more nervous than us! We stepped out of the room while they chatted about us for a moment, then stepped back in and were told we were approved. LAC = looked after children and they have their own SW (social worker). Guardian as it says but have never met one!!

Phone your own SW if any problems - there is a 24 hour 'hotline.'

You prepare by talking to your own children about the situation and make your house as safe as possible.

Goodbye is hard - you just have to say you have done your best and hope with all your might that the child will be OK.

Good Luck - feel free to ask anymore questions. Tes x

Panadbois Tue 14-Feb-12 10:23:04

Hi Tes

Thanks for your reply, and a lengthy one too! I'm sorry for not explaining myself properly. I have been a registered FC for 16 months, but haven't any LO here at the moment smile It's true to say that I am out of practice ( We haven't had a placement for ten months) but I was thinking about what you would put in a guide for FC. What questions did you have etc.

I know that I would love to have an idiots guide, to turn to when no ones on MN, which would have different chapters and a q & a section.

Must be just me then grin

kiddiwinkles Tue 14-Feb-12 12:25:24

How About

Types of placement and guidelines on usual length of placement

Information on Bridging to adoption

Information on how to prepare the Lo's for moving on/back to BF

Information on what to put in memory boxes/ life story work

therapymumsy Tue 14-Feb-12 12:41:14

Don't get too used to only doing fostering .... Once in it's hard to leave...

Don't agree to do anything your uncanny with

SW are not always right but at end of day it's their decision but do make sure your concerns are noted.... In the file...

Dont do if easily embarrassed....or get Tshirt that says I'm the foster carer!

Take tine out for you! Important in difficult or LT placement

Realise parents will hate you

Be prepared to have heartbroken

If looking at teens then find out here local police station is .... Equip self with plenty of missing person forms grin

Have secret bottle of baileys to swig from at regular intervals .....


Panadbois Tue 14-Feb-12 13:04:30

I love the Baileys one grin

BusterTheDonk Tue 14-Feb-12 15:59:04

grin at Baileys point
sad agree with heart being broken

Always be honest to LO and your SSW
Always be friendly but professional with parents - don't cross the line
Beware of idle chatter - its a very small world!!
Be prepared to fight whoever on behalf of the child - even if that is SW's or the parents - it is your role
Have an open heart and a sympathetic ear
Know which supermarket is open 24hrs to grab some decent clothes when they turn up with none
Know your handbook/providers policies inside out
RECORD, RECORD, RECORD everything, every email, every phone call in your diary
Go on all training offered
Come onto Mumsnet every night to help fellow Foster Carers
Allow yourself time to grieve when they leave
Accept all help offered
Accept every child will be different - some won't always 'fit' quite as well as others
Don't be bullied/co-ersed into taking an unsuitable placement
Expect the unexpected!


scarlet5tyger Tue 14-Feb-12 21:13:57

There used to be a website called Fostercare World and the man who ran it was writing a book very much like this. He sent me a sample chapter and it was all set out in simple, easy to understand language. Unfortunately I don't think anything ever came of it but there's definitely a gap in the market!

I myself would like to know what all the "technical" terms and abbreviations mean - took ages before I know that PPO meant Police Protection Order! And all the different Section Orders...

Panadbois Tue 14-Feb-12 21:42:58

Yes yes yes to gap in the market!

Maybe we should get some credit , or commission? (or we should get in quick and write it ourselves?

Also idle chatter, can put you in deep waters. My last placements family was in the same town as me, and everybody (but me) knew them and their history.

I would like it stressed that FC are doing a huge huge service, and that SS are not your superiors, but should treat you with respect and be in awe of what we do. I think that calls for some thanks

EightiesChick Wed 15-Feb-12 11:38:05

Some of you should consider doing it as a kindle book. It's supposed to be very easy to do those yourself. You could also do new editions then, '50 questions about fostering' 'Another 50 questions about fostering' etc.

bottersnike Wed 15-Feb-12 12:43:19

Good idea, there is so much wonderful experience out there in the form of fantastic foster carers (as well as how to recognise others who may not be doing so good a job...) and it would be great to have a central resource. It's surprisingly hard to find stuff out sometimes!
I wonder if the Fostering Network have anything similar?

NanaNina Sun 19-Feb-12 19:15:42

Hi BtheD - loved your post!

BusterTheDonk Sun 19-Feb-12 19:25:09

blush ahhh bless you NanaNina.. you are my hero and I wish you worked for my LA grin what fun we'd have kicking everyone into shape!! x x

JohnHenry Wed 11-Feb-15 03:47:26

Just a comment on the above posts...
My Wife and I have been foster carers since the turn of the century (ouch!) and have fostered a wide range of youngsters, each of which have brought us an even wider range of challenges and rewards (yes - foster care IS very rewarding).
Each time a placement ends I have always decided to use my newly acquired 'free time' (what is THAT? I hear you ask!) to provide a grass roots version of the PC correct, 350-page publications offering advice on 'best practice' in Foster Care. However, the appearance at our front door of another frowning, observant, scruffy, puppy-eyed cherub soon put paid to that.
Not this time!!!
In my experience in-depth books on foster care always proved too complex, too condescending ...and too hard to take in. They waffle along (its like walking through treacle at times) and quite often had me very quickly putting them half-read onto my bookshelf (which, incidentally is ALWAYS strategically positioned in clear view of visiting social workers, Guardians etc... so they can see how well-read I am ha ha.)
I have almost completed my publication, which I have entitled "The Idiots Guide To Foster Care". This title seemed the only appropriate choice to make. After all, we were idiotic enough to become foster carers all those years ago and didn't have a clue what to expect, who to turn to or what certain things meant. It really was a baptism of fire. It was ONLY after the usual honeymoon period that we discovered that our first placement was a psychotic, violent young person 'out there' but a really nice boy at home. Until...
Anyways, I digress. When the book is finally ready (cherub's allowing) I'm hoping to make readers laugh and raise a surprised eyebrow (or two - depending upon the gravity of the nugget of wisdom I offer, lol) ...or even cry (an expression of emotion commonly used by foster carers, including me).
I have not held back either. The great, the good, the BAD and the UGLY have been included, so even though it is an 'idiot's guide', the 'Professionals' aren't likely to provide cheerful endorsements.
If anyone has any questions about the book please email me - I'd be delighted to hear from you.
In the meantime - happy fostering!

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