Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on fostering.
So, we started the Skills to Foster Training course today.(22 Posts)
What are you scared of WATF - hope it isn't because you think you won't get approved. On the other hand if you are a bit scared of what you might be taking on, I think that's a good thing. I worked in the field of adoption and fostering for some 30 years - now retired, and have done many prep courses with the help of colleagues. Some people are quiet in groups and others more talkative and there are usually one or two who might annoy the others! I often found that the quiet people in groups, were much more comfortable when I was doing the assessment in their own homes. Takes all sorts.
I always felt more confident about people who were really giving a lot of consideration to what fostering involved, because that's the point of the course. I was more worried about those who were seemingly full of confidence and saying things like "Oh we'll have 3 or 4 kids"
Think you need to think of this prep time as a two way street. OK the sws will be assessing you, but you also need to think really carefully if this is something that is going to be right for you and your family, and pulling out if you need to. Of course there is no way that you will really know till you actually have fostered children yourself, but then again all placements are different, and there are no guarantees in fostering. Don't be worried about asking questions, getting clarification etc as it's quite a lot to take in.
Don't forget that foster carers are like gold dust - there is a huge shortage of foster carers on a national basis, so good luck and you can find the prep course enjoyable and make friends with other prospective foster carers.
Congrats WATF on getting so far and on your decision to foster..
I remember our course well (2 years ago).. I was so excited and terrified.. a feeling that is sort of still with me now ...
It is intensive - don't expect to take it all in - the handbook is fab but VERY daunting.. we didn't have a clue what it was going on about - but then it was the latest edition and neither did the SW's
We were split up quite a lot - lots of interaction and one thing that stood out for all of us was a 'current' carer coming to answer our questions..
I remember the buffet being just amazing
Some people did drop out along the way.. its to be expected and is quite normal I believe - so I agree (as always) with NanaNina in that it is also for you to really dig deep within and see if it is something that you feel/think you can do - it is such a huge responsibility and so traumatic/emotional/frustrating at times that it really is like a roller coaster ride - luckily I'm enjoying the ride so far, although we've had our moments...
Try and enjoy, be yourself, make notes, make friends.. this is a hard journey but try and enjoy the journey itself, not just focus on the destination... the prep work is your foundation...
Very best of luck and please keep in touch x
[Big wave to NanaNina emotion]
thank you. yes i'm feeling scared by the enormity of what i want to do. its the responsibility for helping a child - it seems so big!
Last night we did all the reasons for fostering and who might be fostered, what job the foster carers will do and what difference it will make.
Idealistically i want to help someone (or many someones) but ATM i'm scared of making the situation worse.
DH was more energised than i've seen him in a long time. he hates all that public speaking and role play, but he was buzzing.
It was always me that was more keen on fostering and he said he would be open minded and go to the training before deciding to go on or not.
Is this usual? i've not changed my mind at all, its just i feel like i've been looking out of a window all my life and said that i like stars and want to learn more, but the course last night, was like standing in the middle of a dark field and considering the enormity of the universe!
Take it steady WATF - you can only do your best in helping a child - there are no guarantees in fostering. All of these children awaiting foster homes are going to have had troubled backgrounds to a greater or lesser extent, and it isn't always possible to help a child who has been traumatised as a young child. I think this is one of the things foster carers have to realise, that sometimes, with the best will in the world, you are not going to "turn things around" for the child. This is not a reflection of your care - it is a reflection of how they were abused/neglected with their birth families.
I always used to say to prospective carers "lower your expectations and then if things go well, it is a bonus." I saw puzzled faces in the prep group at this, but so may carers told me later that they now understand what I meant. SO don't put so much pressure on yourself and think in terms of "succeeding" or "failing" - it isn't like that. Carers are all different and like all of us and have their own ups and downs with their own family life and what is a problem for one carer, may not be for another.
SO I hope you can stop thinking of fostering in terms of the "enormity of the universe" but I like your metaphore!
Was surprised you mentioned "public speaking" do they expect you to make speeches (I can't think of a better way of putting people off!) and role plays are good I think, but people should not be pressed into them, and there are usually enough extroverts in the group who are keen to do it.
So go with the flow and no one is expecting miracles to be worked - you can only do your best and that is good enough. Nothing in life is 100% and I had a wise manager who used to say "if we get it right 75% of the time we are doing well.
whatsallthefuss I wouldn't worry about making the situation worse for the children sadly the parents and the courts usually have that sewn up.
Sometimes I don't feel fabulous about things I get asked to do
I feel like such a it taking children o contact when I know know one will be waiting for them but I guess all I can do is argue for the childs needs and wants
Well done so far
Fostering really makes you think about your own childhood and yourself as a parent
MrB - why do you say that the courts "make the situation worse" for children.
sometimes i think they make ruling based more on what the parents want than what the child needs.
we had a fc who waited nearly 3 years for a final hearing whilst the judge asked for clearly unsuitable assessments to made of every tom, dick and harry all came back negative but which time the child was to old to be considered for adoption.
WATF... I think I sort of get what you mean about the enormity of it all...
Only a couple of weeks ago, I had a real 'crisis of confidence' as I could see that the 'system' had 'damaged' my first placements, and I couldn't justify to myself being 'part' of the system let alone the damage done to these innocent kids. My SSW describes some of the decisions (and lack of) as horrendous and news that filters through about the kids isn't good... I told her I didn't think I could go on...
I think I've just about come to terms with it all - I can only do my bit and can't be responsible for other people in the system - I'm sadly not in control and can't do their job for them...
Something that also helped was the arrival of our 2nd placement - school couldn't say enough about how he'd changed after being with us only a few weeks - I was shocked .. why? because I didn't feel like we'd done anything 'special' with him... just provided him with good care, good food, opportunities, love, routine, security.. all of those 'little' things that we all do as normal and take for granted... I guess I'm trying to say that sometimes it is the really basic things that we often overlook/ignore that make the biggest difference... everything else for him is crap.. pure crap.. and yet something so simple is making such a huge difference to him...
Don't set yourself up to fail... sure, look at the stars but make sure you don't miss what is going on down here... iyswim
Hope that makes sense and helps x
Mr B - the thing is that the LA now have a duty (Children Act 1989) to find out if there is any one in the extended family who could offer a home to a child who is not being returned totheir parents. In the late 70s and 80s we were able to make a visit to "granny" or "auntie Flo" or whoever else and just say we didn't think they were suitable. I don't know whether that was fair or not, but it certainly prevented "drift" which I know is an enormous problem.
Social workers of course have to practice within the terms of the legislation and now if some member of the extended family (or friend even) puts themselves forward, they have to be comprehensively assessed, unless of course the police check comes back with somethin appalling and of recent date. I know that these assessments sometimes seem to take for ever, but I think that is because of the absolute crisis in social care at all levels. Nationally many LAs are running at 30% vacancy rates and high sickness levels due to stress related illnesses. You can't run a good quality service like this. Some of the inner cities are running at 40% vacancy rates.
The other thing is that they can't advertise these vacancies, because most vacancies are frozen because of the slashing of budgets in all public services, most of whom were already seriously under resourced. In my view Cameron et al are only interested in profit - and there is no proftit in public services is there, although that is changing by the week as more and more schools are becoming academies and run like businesses making big profits, and the same is happening with the NHS. To be honest I don't think thids govt will rest until all public services are privatised. SORRY, sorry I am digressing, so had better stop, but i feel so angry about how this govt is hitting the most disadvantaged members of our society with welfare cuts etc.
But back to your point, judges will not have final hearings unless all the necessary assessments have been carried out. Mind this does sometimes mean that there is a suitable family member to care for a child and keep him in the family, though of course ensuring that he is safe and not allowed unsupervised contact with the parents from who he has been removed.
As you know I'm sure parliament makes the law and all professionals have to adhere to it, and Judges apply the law.
I think you are making an important point about children in foster care for too long (whilst all these assessments are made and reports written etc etc) and then being too old for adoption. That is a real problem as when I retired from social work 8 years ago, children of 5 and over and sibling groups and children with disabilities were not being adopted, and I understand that nothing has changed in this respect. Most adoptors want a baby, for obvious reasons, but will consider under 2's or 3's but once over school age the opportunity for adoption decreases significantly. It is equally as hard to find people who will consider permanently fostering a "middle years aged" child, or sibs, or children with disabilities. Very sad but true that a lot of these children are passed around short term foster carers, and unsurprisingly become more and more emotionally damaged, and this will often manifest itself in challenging behaviour that carers find very difficult to manage. I have seen marriages broken up and carers suffering mental health problems, feeling they have "failed" the child, whereas it is the system that has failed the child, but I don't know what the answer is.
I am in total agreement with Martin Narey (ex chief exec of Barnardoes) and now the government tsar on adoption, when he says that children are left too long in families where change is not going to happen, and the child does not have the time to wait. I think this is changing though as applications for Care Orders have risen by 50% since the death of Peter Connelly, though of course this has put more strain on an already creaking system, with long waits for guardians to be appointed (as their workload has doubled) long waits for assessments etc and long waits for the cases to get to court because there is a shortage of Judges specialising in family law.
Oh BtheD you have given this child so much, phsyical and emotional care and making a child feel safe is priceless, and so glad the school have noticed the difference. I know you say these are the things you do without thinking about it, but for all of these children they will not have experienced the kind of stability and love and care shown to them by people like yourself. Don't you dare give up!! NNxx
WATF - I also 'get' what you are saying. I am relatively new to fostering (coming up for a year) and definitely had a point where I suddenly realised that I couldn't 'fix' the start lo has had, and that I could only do the best I can do for lo.
The thought that I am not in control of how things will turn out for lo brings me out into a cold sweat and I do worry for the future however that may go......BUT fostering without doubt is one of the best things we have done as a family and the positives outweigh the negatives tenfold!
The fact that you are processing all the information and thinking in depth about fostering is a good thing! Let us know how it all goes and good luck! X
i'm not so arrogant to think that i can fix anyone!
however by help i meant in my previous posts, by at the very least, offering a place to rest in the storm of whats going on in thier little lives. a little oasis.
I'm worried about making things worse. i'm worried that there is so much i dont know. But i do know a lot about kids. i know that they want to be seen for all that they are. i know that the outward manifestation of behaviour isnt necessarily whats going on inside or is the correct message the child is trying to give.
thank you for all your support.
WATF-i wasn't suggesting you were arrogant; it's just that's how I felt when I had this lo who I was responsible for and I didn't want to make wrong judgements or matters worse.
I have found its a long journey with lots of emotions as i have found out!
no i didnt mean to sound like you were namecalling. sorry if i did.
i'm grateful for hearing all of your experiences and handholding me through this life changing event.
PS i also do a small amount of childminding, and one of the boys i've been taking care of has been very withdrawn and violent. He was with me for a couple of hours tonight and we baked buscuits with his brother. nicely taking turns, not a bit of agression. engaging, looking at me in the eye. when they went in the oven, he did a little skip as he went out of the kitchen... My DD jumps for joy regularly, but to see the change in the boy, made my heart swell.
bless him... simple pleasures.... these are the things that count and mean the world to them, and if we are open enough to small steps, can mean the world to us too...
wishing you the very best of luck and I hope your husband is enjoying the buzz of it too...
So my self and my husband are just starting the assessment. Our next step is the Skills For Fostering training but reading these posts makes me nervous as I hate role play and my husband is shy in public. Do we have to do role play.
Plus, I'm already terrified about everything else, such as; will we get accepted?, what if my boys can't handle it? What if we fail? Etc etc.
P.s. You're all amazing
Nervous, this thread is 4 years old - you might be better off starting a new one of your own.
Click on 'fostering' in the blue bar at the top of the page. This will list all the threads in the fostering topic. Then at the top click on 'start a new thread'
I have just had my stake one report finished and I'm waiting times see if I get to stage two Can anyone tell me what the training involves please as I'm reserved and would be useless ato trolley play a
I'm sure you will make a very good foster carer WATF. Good luck (you'll need a little)
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