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Thinking about fostering

(8 Posts)
damnitdamnit Mon 22-Jul-13 20:07:14

Hi everyone in looking for any information that will help me explore the possibility of us fostering further.

We have always thought and discussed the possibility we might foster once we had had our children, dc3 is now here and we have begun to think about this a little more. We are not at a point to say yes yet but we need further info.

I would love to hear from any foster careers with young (ish) families and would like to know on the pro's and cons for their own children.

I would also like more info on private v local authority foster caring. Do they offer the same support, training and allowances. Do they both do a range of fostering i.e. respite, emergency, short term, long term and planned short breaks .

On reading some info from our local authority I think I would be interested in respite and/or emergency and planned short breaks.

Any information and advice is gratefully received.

Roshbegosh Mon 22-Jul-13 21:39:39

How old are your children? Which age group would you like to care for? If your children are little you might just want to care for babies rather than older children. It will have an impact on your children and you need time to devote to the children you foster so it is a big step.

damnitdamnit Mon 22-Jul-13 21:50:21

Thanks for your reply my children ate 5, 3 and 3 months, I was thinking children that are very young ie babies and under 2's would be best for us if we decided to proceed.

I realise this would have an impact my children but would like to know more experiences if possible. I think that's why In the first instance I seem to lean towards emergency and respite care to test the waters if you see what I mean.

Roshbegosh Mon 22-Jul-13 22:51:53

You could get started with the approval process as it takes ages, over a year for us. I don't look after babies but a friend loves doing this. She has babies come at short notice and is sad to see them go each time. They sometimes have to have frequent contact with their mother though so you are going back and forth maybe daily to contact centres. Foster through the LA as I think the money making agencies are immoral and while we get the same either way the agency makes a big charge that costs the LA twice as much. I think this means that you will be more likely to get children placed with you if you are with the LA as they have to agree to use the agencies via a resources panel and they won't agree unless desperate. I hope someone here can tell you something useful about caring for babies. Good luck. You will need enough space at home and a stable environment.

scarlet5tyger Tue 23-Jul-13 10:33:50

Hi, most local authorities will insist on your own children being at least 2 years older than the children you foster. So you'll probably be asked to wait at least 2 years before starting the process even if you're going forward as a carer for babies.

Agencies pay better than your local authority. They also provide better support. They can afford to as they are paid a small fortune (by your local authority) for each child they take. By contrast, local authorities are having their budgets slashed to less than the bare minimum and losing social workers by the day. (Look for some posts by Nananina regarding them as she can explain it much better than me! )

As a result of budget cuts most LAs are using agencies as an absolute last resort nowadays and certainly not for babies who are easy to place in-house. In fact, a lot of local authorities have stopped recruiting for baby carers as they have plenty, it's teen carers who are desperately needed. Likewise, respite and emergency carers - they are using the carers they already have (or refusing current carers respite!)

2 years ago I would have encouraged anyone to foster. In the current political climate I'm much more cautious as things simply aren't working, and are getting worse every week.

Sorry to sound negative but it's tough in fostering land at the moment!

damnitdamnit Tue 23-Jul-13 12:32:49

Thanks both for your responses. I suppose the next step is for us to talk to the LA to see if the type of fostering we want to do is something they are looking for or not. There is an information event coming up so will try to get to that.

lovesmileandlaugh Tue 23-Jul-13 13:24:51

Talking to the LA and the information event is a good place to start.

When we went initially, we decided to wait until our children were a bit older. The main reason was the safer caring policies in that you care for a foster child very differently. For example, they would not be allowed in your bed, and I wasn't ready to stop my children coming in for a cuddle in the morning. I didn't think they were old enough to understand why. And I couldn't leave another child stood at the door whilst mine came in (obviously!). As they've grown up and started having sleep-overs, they understand why things are different when other peoples children are in the house. They don't bring their mates into bed for a cuddle!

There is very little respite in our LA for younger children, it is seen as too disruptive and causes problems with attachment. I've known carer's who have been desperate for a break, being refused. It might be worth considering older children, but it would depend on how experienced you are with that age group.

Emergency care goes to the more experienced carers as it can obviously be quite traumatic (thinking the middle of the night removals). Otherwise they come in for short-term which could be up to 2 years +.

You are expected to do an awful lot in terms of meetings, contact, training, form filling. Our decision was that we could do this when our kids were in school, otherwise it would impact on them being dragged around, or looking for someone to look after them. There is a lot of work on top of just looking after another child, some of which would be hard to manage without finding care for other kids. For example, the standard contact with birth families for under 5's, is at least 3 times a week. That means taking them to a contact centre, picking them up and dealing with the problems and distress it often causes.

In my opinion, there has also been an over-recruitment of foster carers for younger children, and carers are being left on-call almost, whilst waiting for a placement. This is hard to plan what you are doing, and you are not paid anything whilst you are waiting.

Get the information, you will know when the time is right for you as a family. Go into it with your eyes wide open. My experience is that SW's sell stuff that doesn't quite happen in reality. We waited until our children were all in school, as that was right for our family!

It is quite a long journey, but good luck with it! Feel free to PM me if I can help!

damnitdamnit Tue 23-Jul-13 20:16:12

Thanks lovesmileandlaugh I sort of have a realistic view as I work loosely in the field and had the same thoughts about the LA wanting more short term carers. I am not willing to take older children ( my role currently involves this and I can see the impacts on others in the family) I will ask them for an idea of if they would be interested in what we have to offer. Short term would be too much for us I feel at this time but like you say if we wait it may be more appropriate later.

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