Fostering children may be challenging but for those who are passionate about changing children’s lives it can be a rewarding and enriching experience. After you’ve been approved to foster, the next step after induction is the matching process, where UK Fostering will use your fostering portfolio to match you with a child we feel you would be best placed to look after.
This process will be explained in detail to you, and you’ll also be asked to sign the foster care agreement before the matching process begins. At the same time you’ll also be allocated your own Supervising Social Worker.
At this stage, you may have several questions about how fostering works and what fostering children involves. Here are some frequently asked questions:
I’ve been approved for fostering children. How long before a child is placed with us?
This will depend on a number of factors including your skills and how flexible you are. You’re free to accept any referral proposed to you by UK Fostering, and likewise if you don’t feel you’re the best person to look after a particular child you can also say so at this stage. We’ll discuss this further with you to see what can be done.
How does the matching process work?
Please see below some of the matching considerations:
These are some of the aspects we usually consider during the matching process:
• Is the child part of a sibling group? Are there compelling reasons why the sibling group should not be placed together?
• The child’s age
• Their School and its location
• The possibility of interference from the parent or extended family
• Any behavioural issues which might exist
• The child’s culture/language/racial identity/religion
• Health/medical factors
• Risk assessment
• Whether the child be better accommodated in a two parent family
• Attachment needs/patterns
• Leisure activities and hobbies they may have
Foster Carer Qualities
• The size of the foster family and it’s composition
• The location or distance of the foster home in relation to the child’s home
• The foster family’s culture/language/race/religion
• Skills and experience of the foster carer
• Child care requirements
• Accommodation and domestic setup
• Vulnerabilities and risks
Is fostering children always challenging or difficult?
Not all foster children are necessarily challenging or difficult in terms of their behaviour, but it’s important to remember that they are facing a crisis in their life and this is obviously upsetting for them. They may need to be treated with sensitivity as a result, and a foster carer should take into account that all children cope differently with stress and loss. UK Fostering can provide training in order to give foster carers the skills to manage these situations.
What if we don’t get on with the children?
Some children will take longer than others to adjust to living in their new surroundings. However, if there is a real problem with a child you’re fostering, you should always discuss this with your social worker. You may find if things are not working out for you, then the child will also be feeling the same.
Sometimes with the right support or training, caring for that child or young person becomes easier and more enjoyable. However, sometimes, it may be best for a child to move to another foster family.
Will there be contact with the child’s family?
It’s often the case that a foster child will have contact with their parents. At UK Fostering we recognise that the relationship between a child and a parent is central to the wellbeing of the child, regardless of why they came into care to begin with.
Can fostering children lead to adoption?
Fostering children can sometimes lead to adoption, but the primary aim is to provide temporary care to children for as long as they need it. In matters of adoption the child will be considered first and foremost, and this could mean there is a family more suitable to act as adoptive parents.