However, is there a description for foster carers that truly covers the whole gamut of what foster carers are?
There is no one description that covers it all. Yes, foster parenting begins with the concept of caring for a child or young person in a safe and caring environment. It expands to take in the hope and desire to make a difference in the child or young person’s life. Between the immediate physical needs of the child and the long-term outcomes that are wanted for the child, there is an entire world of duties and skills.
The short job description is that as a foster carer you take in looked after children. You are a parent and a team player. You provide love and safety. You also provide reports and paper work. A foster parent is part of a team who works with children and young people that have been taken into care by the local authority.
The local authority often turns to a fostering service such as Capstone Foster Care for the foster care that is needed. This is where the description needs to become larger. There are different types of foster care that can range from an emergency placement that lasts overnight to a temporary arrangement to a permanent placement. Sometimes, short-term placements become long-term arrangements. Some even end up as adoption.
You work with the young person’s social worker who is already familiar with you and who knows you have the specific responsibilities and skills needed. Some of these skills may have become apparent as early as the assessment part of your career as a foster carer, others may have grown out of your training and experiences as a foster parent.
In some areas, there is a greater need for foster carers than there are foster carers available and you may not always have the type of placement that you had anticipated. For example, if you had planned to look after babies from shortly after birth until they were placed with their families, either birth or adopted, you might instead find yourself in the role of providing a home to a teenager. In such a case you will be working with a young person whose behaviour is very different from that of a younger child.
Foster parents provide support to children in care and help them grow up in a safe place where they are able to have a positive future. There is a national shortage of foster parents at any given time. If you are interested in knowing more about what it means to be a foster carer, contact Capstone Foster Care on 0800 012 4004 or simply click here.