It’s Foster Care Fortnight 2019 and my 15th or 16th year working in the sector. It’s been so long I’m allowed to not quite remember when I started!
Fostering remains one of the most amazing things anyone can do or at least one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen someone do. I have seen hundreds of foster carers over the years and thousands of children become enveloped into the loving environments that foster carers offer. Most of the children are able to thrive and lay foundations from which to flourish into adulthood. That of course is not to say it’s easy or for that matter quick. Foster carers make sacrifices, in much the same way as all parents make sacrifices. But those coming into foster care of course will generally have gone through more than they should do at their age so they do need a special type of care. Resilience, confidence, realism, professionalism, a sense of fun and good communication are just some of the requirements to become foster carers. Not everyone is suitable to foster but what is clear is that many suitable people still rule themselves out to foster sometimes simply because they fear rejection. I’m working through this innate problem with my teenage daughter. Fear of failure can be debilitating. I’m trying to teach her that no one is judging if she loses, she is okay to try, and what has she got to lose really when (insert activity here) might in fact be perfect for her. I often talk to potential foster carers who describe plucking up the courage to contact. Sometimes it is squarely courage to take that risk of someone saying no, or at least, that this may not be the right time. When so many people tell me they should have explored sooner, I wonder how many out there never even get to the point of finding out!
If I was to say that you can be a couple or single, heterosexual or gay, owning a property or renting, with children or without, British citizen or not, that you could in theory foster, you might think that this is obvious. But talking to applicant’s week in week out, it is clear that Fostering remains in somewhat of a bubble. Foster Care Fortnight works to transcend the bubble and reach the wider world so that more people can consider becoming foster carers. I hope that it’s working. I hope that as fostering organisations we are able to spread the message, and I hope, with this blog, someone gains the confidence to take the next step. If this is you, you are of course welcome to speak to us ( You’re here after all 😉 )
Head of Placement & Recruitment, Social media Guru, Office Comedian, retired Sunday Footballer