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Could You Be a Foster Carer?

>> Oct 27, 2014




Foster carers are a unique and scarce resource. For various reasons, including neglect and abuse, hundreds of children are removed from their biological families each day. Despite this, there are nowhere near enough foster carers available to cope with the demand for temporary care (http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/2013-11-17/5086254). Committing to fostering a child is a huge decision, but a path more people ought to seriously consider. It can be a rewarding experience and, with a bit of research, quite a straightforward process. 

Nevertheless, there is a lack of awareness regarding the definition and scope of fostering. The length of time a foster carer takes in a child can vary dramatically. They may look after someone for a few weeks or months, or just overnight in an emergency. Foster care can even continue for many years in some cases. But, unlike with most adoptions, the goal is to provide a temporary solution – ideally the child will eventually be reunited with their birth family, and the foster carer ought to help maintain these relationships wherever possible. Keeping up these connections can help the child preserve their personal identity, and provide a base to develop their sense of self.

However, whilst the child is in your care, it is important to act as a parent and welcome them into your home. This will involve considering any other children in the household, fostered or otherwise, as well as other family members. Integrating a foster child into an already established family structure can be challenging, but the beauty of foster care is that there are no assumptions about the 'perfect' nuclear family. Across the world, once tabooed demographics, such as single parents, non-heterosexuals, and younger adults are now encouraged to become foster carers alongside more traditional parental units. The need for 'respite' care – where a child is looked after only for weekends or holidays – means that even individuals in full-time employment can put themselves forwards as short-term foster carers. More people than ever are eligible to foster, and this progress should help with the deficit in supply.

A child needs stability and permanence to flourish. If they have ended up in foster care, it is likely that their life has already been plagued by disruption, so reliable carers are essential. To be successful it is important that an individual has the time, energy, and patience to commit to a child in order to go some way to remedying this disruption. Many young people in foster care experience behavioural or other associated difficulties, so the foster care needs to be specialised if there are other such factors involved. Any foster placement offers its own challenges, but deciding what sort of problems you are suited to dealing with is crucial to becoming an effective foster carer.

There are significantly more children in need than there are carers to look after them, and so many different types of care to get involved in. If you are curious about foster care, I urge you to investigate. If you can help – by spreading the word or becoming a carer yourself – what have you got to lose? You could end up helping a child through one of the most difficult parts of their young life, and stop them becoming an awful statistic from an overworked care system.

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Welcome to my blog. I'm a home maker, a stay at home wife. I'm just an ordinary woman who has interest in reading, working at home and learning to write. We live in Bogor, Indonesia.
This blog contains articles in family topic.
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