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Talk to me about being a long-term foster carer please

(10 Posts)
BarbarianMum Thu 12-Feb-15 13:08:53

Having thought about becoming a foster carer 'at some point' for many years now, I would like to find out more so we (dh and I) can think about it seriously. The thing is we would be interested in being long-term foster carers and most/all of the resources I can find seem to relate to short-term or family fostering. I've always assumed (perhaps naively) that long-term foster care would be rather different, with different challenges.

In so far as my musings have gone I've always envisaged us fostering a child or small sibling group that have not been matched for adoption (so 6/7 years plus or perhaps with some additional needs) and giving them a home until adulthood. We have 2 birth children - boys aged 7 and 9 - so would want to take things forward in a couple of years or so if we conclude that this is something we can offer but I'd like to think/talk/read more about it before approaching SS.

Thanks (in hope)

OP’s posts: |
lostonline Thu 12-Feb-15 13:28:06

Hi we are long term foster carers for a 9 year old girl who has been with us for almost two years. The intention is that she will be part of our family until she is ready to move on as an adult.
Being fostered rather than adopted means she can still see her birth family.
Happy to answer questions

BarbarianMum Thu 12-Feb-15 13:44:37

Thank you for answering. smile

I guess my immediate questions would be:

1. Are all long-term foster placements in care until adulthood, or is the possibility that they would be returned to their birth family always there for some or all of them?

2. Are fostered siblings of the same gender allowed to share a room?

3. How do you manage the things that have to be handled differently for a fostered child than a birth child (notably things like showing affection - I'm really struggling with the idea of looking after a child long term but not being able to kiss and cuddle them if they want to be kissed or cuddled. I get that the may not want to be and that's not a problem, more the idea that I would hurt them by not allowing them to sit on my lap sprawl all over me when they see my own children doing exactly that).

4. Is it possible to take foster children abroad on holiday? We have family abroad who we go and see every few years (wouldn't have to stay with them if that would be a problem).

5. Is it true that foster children are only allowed to visit/stay in the houses of CRB checked adults? If so, how do you work that into providing a 'normal' childhood?

Think I'll stop there before you regret posting!

OP’s posts: |
lostonline Thu 12-Feb-15 14:44:29

In our case the child had been placed for adoption so there was never a chance that they could return to her birth family.
I believe siblings up to the age of 12 can share a room
Our LA recommends that child should be 2 years younger than birth children. There is no problem with cuddling foster kids and a safer carer agreement goes through such issues when the child is placed.
Our child has a passport and we can holiday abroad
We are advised to use of own judgement about whose houses the child can visit/stay in so this doesn't cause a problem.
We have found it a very rewarding couple of years and would encourage to contact your LA and find out about long term fostering in your area and attend an information evening.

BarbarianMum Thu 12-Feb-15 21:51:39

Thanks for answering smile Lots to think about.

OP’s posts: |
kittymonkeymummy Thu 12-Feb-15 22:22:07

Hi BarbarianMum

My partner and I are long term foster carers for our 2 siblings - age 7 and 9.

Re 1 - Our 2 children's care plan says long term (until they are 18), however as their mum is currently going through a therapy and the end result will affect the outcome for children, the situation may change. The idea is always to get children back to family home if at all possible and sadly financial cuts sometimes decide on when it happens, even if it's not in best interest of the children... Also when they reach certain age (16 I think but not 100% sure) children may decide to live independently..

Re 2 - This depends on their history and risk assessment. If they are violent towards each other or there's a history of sexualised behaviour, then it's unlikely for them to share bedroom.

Re 3 - We don't have own children and therefore it's not an issue - sorry I can't help, all I can do is say what I'd do but I don't think that's what you're after..
We are only allowed "safe cuddles" - where the child stands next to you and not a full frontal cuddle, also no sitting on the lap or tickling/rough play.

Re 4 - Yes but this depends on the risk assessment, children's history and family situation. Generally social services are very keen on you taking children with you everywhere.

5. Is it true that foster children are only allowed to visit/stay in the houses of CRB checked adults? If so, how do you work that into providing a 'normal' childhood?

Re 5 - Well we visit people who are not CRB checked and it's never been an issue, children are accompanied by us at all times but also sleep-overs - my FD was allowed to stay over at her friend's for one night and friend's mum is not CRB checked..
I think that again it will depend on the individual situation of the child.

If you have more questions - feel free to ask! smile

Take care smile

willitbe Fri 13-Feb-15 18:35:14

One of this questions re cuddles, and safe care. I really miss having snuggles in our bed on a Saturday mornings with our young children. But it is a sacrifice we have to make as we can't have any foster children in our bedroom, and so we can't treat our children differently. If you ask our 5 year old what he thinks of fostering, he says he wishes we could still have snuggle time. We always used to have our children bring their santa stockings into our room on Christmas morning and the children would open them with glee sitting on our bed, again, this is no longer possible. So if you are a very snuggly/cuddly family good at showing affection to each other, then you will find it a change having to use all the safe care practices.

regarding children staying with non-crb checked folks, this can be done for a short period, but you would need to check with social worker, if it was more than one night. If it was more than 72 hours then generally they might request crb check.

BarbarianMum Mon 16-Feb-15 14:01:03

Thanks all for taking the time to answer me.
Re the cuddles thing, our 2boys are very tactile and still in and out of our beds so, as I don't want to tell them they can't and obviously wouldn't want to treat a foster child differently, I think waiting a couple of years for them to outgrow this stage is the right thing for us.

The crb and passport things are positive though. Not that we particularly need a child to have nights away but would want them to have the option.
Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
Rabbitchat1919 Tue 11-Jun-19 21:01:43

Hello, we went through the adoption process and passed, then the pupil referral unit where I worked closed, i decided i no longer wanted to teach and we realised we couldn't have two children on my husbands salary alone, (we have a birth child) so we went down the long term foster route, did the F1 form, passed that, this was 9 month ago and we are still waiting. Our social worker misses most of the monthly appointments she is supposed to have. A few weeks back she told us she had a little girl for us then said she had discovered this child wasn't appropriate. I am beginning to think that we won't get anyone. I'd really love to help a child but the older my child gets makes the reality of it actually happening unlikely. Did you guys have to wait a long time? Should we change borough? lostonline -id be interested to know what borough you are with? x

Rabbitchat1919 Tue 11-Jun-19 21:03:23

I should add we are passed as long term carers only as i didn't want lots of different children coming and going as i'd like my birth child to have a sibling relationship with the foster child.

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