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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on fostering.

From the childs perspective

(42 Posts)
MrsHiggins Fri 06-Nov-09 12:02:33

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Flower3545 Fri 06-Nov-09 14:36:28

That sounds an awful thing to have happened to you MrsHigginssad

We only foster newborns now but years ago when we used to foster sibling groups we always introduced ourselves by our first names to our new arrivals. Our three used to take exception to fc's being allowed to call us by our names when they used to "have to" call us mum and dadsmile

We have also had a couple of placement breakdowns and, as awful as they were, I can't for the life of me imagine blaming the child. I consider them my failures and it has taken a long time to come to terms with them.

One in particular still causes me to take a deep breath whenever I remember his little face as he was driven away from us. He was too young to understand that we couldn't cope with his special needs and while I agreed with social services decision to move him to a special needs carer the guilt at our failing him is still with me.

LovestheChaos Fri 06-Nov-09 16:03:43

My husband and I are in the proces of applying to foster so your message is very helpful.

I cannot believe that anyone would make a foster child feel like they were "less worthy" especially at the holidays!

Any child that comes into this house will be loved and nurtured as part of the family and treated like our own whether he/she has difficulties and challenging behaviour or not.

I was wondering actually what to tell the foster child to call us.....mummy and daddy are fine with us! I guess it depends on what the child is comfortable with.

LovestheChaos Fri 06-Nov-09 16:05:47

Flower I am sure you did your best please don't beat yourself up.

I have a feeling that I am in store for a lot of heartache in doing this. Deep breath.

Flower3545 Fri 06-Nov-09 16:19:06

Thank you LovestheChaos, we were told at the beginning of our fostering lives that we were not allowed to have the fc's call us mum and dad.

We were told that, as a rule, children have parents already and calling us mum and dad would cause confusion and probably hurt the parents a lot. The same is apparently the case of aunty or uncle, the child may have these also so first names have always been the rule here.

The real heartache comes when the fc's desperately want to call you mum and you have to albeit gently, tell them nosad

MrsHiggins Fri 06-Nov-09 18:14:16

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LovestheChaos Sun 08-Nov-09 19:38:18

Don't be sorry MrsHiggins. Anything you want to share about your experiences would be really helpful.

Lotsofchooks Mon 09-Nov-09 14:32:14

I'm a long time lurker and this is my first post!
MrsHiggins, I felt compelled to register and post on your topic.
We have been through a long (but I wouldn't say stressful or intrusive) assessment with our LA to become foster carers and we are going to panel a week on Thursday smile - and I wanted to say that the perspective and experience of somebody that has been fostered is absolutely invaluable and certainly not negative to someone like us just starting off on this journey.
I read your post the other day regarding Christmas presents and discussed it with OH - so your thoughts 'from a childs perspective' are very helpful....keep them coming I say.

MrsHiggins Mon 09-Nov-09 17:20:33

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RedHills Mon 09-Nov-09 19:32:52


I was also fostered and I can second EVERYTHING that MrsHiggins says.

But I'd also add these:

Buy their school photos. It's really horrible when foster parents buy the school photos of their birth children but not those of their foster children. (It's also embarrassing to be the only one in the class whose parents don't purchase the school photo!)

As soon as the child comes, let them know how things run eg. are you allowed to flush the loo at night? Are you allowed to get yourself a drink? Every single house is different!

However, don't be too inflexible with the rules (well, with the ones that don't matter anyway) - the thing is, one thing you learn in foster care is that all house rules are COMPLETELY ARBITRARY. Some rules may have been going on for time immemorial in one family, but the family the child has come from may have never heard of that rule! (I sometimes got told off for breaking rules I didn't know existed). What everyone does in one house (eg gets straight up from the table) can get you in trouble when you do it in another home (eg. because they expect you to ask to leave the table first)!! Don't be too strict because every time a child moves all the rules change too, and what may seem like common sense to you probably seems completely arbitrary to the child. Well, I mean, obviously have rules, but bear in mind that their former family might have had completely different ones

Also, PUT PHOTOS UP OF THEM IN THE HOUSE. One of my foster families did this, and you have no idea - people put photos up of their children, but, I found, rarely of their foster children. It's really nice.

NEVER stop a child misbehaving by by saying you'll move them on or phone their social worker or make them pack their bags to leave.

But I wish you all luck and happiness! I'm sure you'll all be absolutely great parents. I'd just like to say that some of my foster parents were absolutely and totally wonderful, and I still remember very fondly!

Lotsofchooks Mon 09-Nov-09 20:18:04

Thanks MrsHiggins and Redhills - insight is great to have.

We are being recommended for 0 - 5 year olds. I had thought of the photograph issue. I don't like clutter, so we have a couple of digital frames and have decided very early on in the placement to take some photos, we can then very easily add to to make the child feel included.

The other idea we had was to get them/help them to make a name drawing on A4, then laminate it and stik it on their bedroom door which hopefully would personalise it for them - obviously so easy to do, we could do it with each child.

I have also taken onboard your comments on house rules and how confusing it can be for a new child in the household.

It's getting quite nerve wracking now and is starting to feel it may actually happen and just hope we can provide what the child needs.

We have DD(8) DS(15) & DS (18), who is away at Uni.

MrsHiggins Tue 10-Nov-09 08:56:48

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MrsHiggins Tue 24-Nov-09 14:15:33

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Pwsimerimew Tue 24-Nov-09 14:38:24

I'm so exited to have received a letter this morning, telling us that they ( LA ) will be in touch soom to discuss becoming foster parents.
This thread is so helpful. Thanks

AandO Mon 01-Feb-10 10:58:43

Thank you for this thread MrsHiggins. It is really useful.

We are currently considering fostering. It is something I have wanted to do all my life. There is one problem though, the prospect that we will move area/country in four years time. My dh is going to be doing his phd for the next four years and once he finishes it will hopefully get a job, but this job will definately not be in the area we are living now and will most likely be out of the country.

We would tell the social worker this likelihood at the beginning. But we have heard that very frequently even short term fostering ends up as long term fostering. And ultimately we would much much prefer long term fostering - so that we, the child and our ds could form a long lasting stable and loving relationship over time, benefiting everyone.

We are concerned that if we had a foster child that we would have to move for the job and then obviously not be able to take the child with us, we are nervous that he or she would feel rejected by us and also how it would effect our ds.

My dh things we should wait until he has completed his phd and we have moved somewhere permanantly before we foster. I kind of agree but it seems so long away right now and I keep on thinking of all the children that need help right now and that we could try to help during that time.

What do you think? What would be the best option? Thanks

focused Mon 29-Mar-10 13:35:07

I have really enjoyed this thread as prospective foster parents. Thank you MrsHiggins for sharing. I have scoured the net trying to find stories from a foster childs point of view and there are not many. We can only try and imagine what its like to be separated from our family and put into a strangers home. I know as a child I would have found it a massive ordeal especially if I was also separated from my brothers. We are hoping to foster teenagers as I relate to this group well having an 18yr old and a 21yr old. Were you fostered as a teenager?

dolphin13 Mon 29-Mar-10 22:06:10

Hi focused, this is an old thread but we found it really useful as well. I may be wrong but I think when I first came on mn I saw a post from mrs higgins saying she wouldn't be around for a while because she was getting married (think it was her but can't bu 100% sure). I hope she comes back, or redhills because it is so good to hear what they have to say.
We foster 5 - 18 yrs.

Good luck with your fostering.

MrsHiggins Wed 31-Mar-10 14:40:10

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dolphin13 Wed 31-Mar-10 18:47:45

omg mrs higgins what a shock that must have been. I remember reading that post.

Glad you are back and happily married now. Are you still in contact with your bm has she explained anything to you.

My adopted dd sees her bm twice a year. We hope that she will grow up with not to many issues as there are no secrets in her life.

We try very hard to anticipate the emotional needs of the children we foster and experience makes it easier. But to hear from someone who has been in care themselves is so helpful.

Please stick around.

MrsHiggins Wed 07-Apr-10 08:08:53

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shaz298 Thu 02-Sep-10 14:15:50


i know this is an old thread but a really valid one.

I wasn't in foster care but have worked in residential care and with children living in foster homes for a long time so I'm going to add a few more do's and don't if that's ok...........

Please don't have different rules for your FC than for you own children ( I have seen this a lot!)

DO understand that the difficult/challenging behaviour they MAY display is not about you. it's about the child and how they feel in the world. The child is probably scared/angry/shy/has little self esteem. How would you react if someone decided now that by tea time you were going to move house and not only that you were to live with complete strangers? By being firm but kind and helping him/her to feel safe will enable him/her to respond more appropriately in the future. Don't expect overnight miracles.

If the child wants/needs them DO GIVE HUGS!!! Appropriate touch is a necessary part of child development.

When a child moves on, DON'T just give them one special thing to take. Let them take all of their things.Clothes, toys, books, music...

And DON'T forget the photos!! Many children who have been in care get to adulthood with very few or no photographs of their childhood.Be mindful of trying to capture lots of happy times. The child can use these as a tool to help them when things are not going well as well as helping them to know who they are.

Also when a child moves on DO use a suitcase or nice hold-alls to pack their things in.

Do make sure your FC is dressed in similar quality clothes to your own child. And if you have no birth children make sure your FC is nicely, appropriately dressed.

If possible encourage SW NOT to go to school to pick the child up. This only puts the child in the position of answering awkward questions they may not want to answer.

Most important of all I DO stand up for yout FC. If decisions are being made that are not in the child's best interests then stand up and be counted. If you can't do it get an independent children's advocate involved.I believe that one of the essential skills of a foster carer should be that he/she is able to appropriately challenge authority on behalf of the child if it is required.

Some of these are obvious and there is no offence meant, but I have come across placements where all of these things have been an issue so felt them all worth a mention.

I'm sure there is loads more but that's all for now......

angel31dust Thu 02-Sep-10 22:20:00

Absolutely priceless information thankyou so much to everyone for your truths and aspirations for the children we endeavour to help. Thankyou

Minnerva Sun 05-Sep-10 08:31:37

shaz298 a really interesting and informative post-deserves to be regularly bumped so that everyone gets the chance to read it.........

Thank you.

SquidgyBrain Sun 05-Sep-10 19:21:25

excellent help and advice - thanks ladies for taking the time to share

shaz298 Tue 14-Sep-10 10:24:00

Anyone else got any more suggestions. i think it would be worthwhile keeping this one going

Sharon x

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