What Is Fostering All About?
Caring For Other People’s Children
Fostering – The Basics
I’ve been fostering for a long time now. My advice is to remember at all times you need to be doing what is best for the child. What do they need from you and how do they need to receive it? If you can do that you can foster.
Why Foster Homes in London Matter To Us
Foster Carers are the people who can provide a safe and secure home environment in which children can flourish. They are a special group of people who accept children as individuals and help them feel good about themselves while guiding them in their development. Great foster carers are able to work with lots of other professional people at their foster homes in London to make sure that children and young people have a voice and that their needs are met. Our work would be meaningless without foster carers who are the centre of our great team!
What Kind of People Foster?
You Are Thoughtful
The chances are you’ve been thinking about fostering for some time. Almost everyone who contacts us has already had conversations with lots of other people in their lives!
People who come forward for fostering usually have some knowledge of what’s involved. They may know someone else who fosters, been fostered themselves, or been part of a ‘fostering family’ whilst they were growing up.
You Like Children
It goes without saying that you’ll enjoy the company of youngsters. Common among all our carers is great personal warmth and a strong desire to help children. You’re likely to be someone with strong values and beliefs; who is compassionate and non-judgmental.
You Can Talk Clearly
With the right personal characteristics, you’ll also need good communication skills and the personal confidence to speak up on behalf of the children you foster. At Synergy, you’ll join a professional team of experienced colleagues who will help you to find your skills in certain areas.
You Enjoy Teamwork
Fostering is about caring for someone else’s child in your home when they are unable to live with their birth family. It’s about supporting children to come to terms with difficult times and not giving up.
You will work with other professionals sharing your observations about the child and listening to and acting on the advice given by others. Success for children requires input from many sources
People like you Foster – We can help you
What Foster Children Need from You
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Enjoy Life Together
One of the most important roles of a foster parent is to give children the opportunity to enjoy life whatever that means for your family and the foster child. Usually this means enjoying the simple life; family meals, going to the park or watching tv together.
Children need your time and attention to flourish and enjoy life again. Having time in your life to foster is important because foster children and others will need your full support and committment.
We will match children with you who are likely to enjoy your family lifestyle and interests, and we hope that you will enjoy theirs as well.
Help with Trauma
Foster carers help children and young people find ways of coping with their trauma, difficult experiences and separation from their families, by being tolerant to their needs.
Some children express their feelings through difficult or challenging behaviour such as tantrums, being withdrawn, aggression, clinginess or rejection. Other children may find it difficult to follow rules as they don’t know what’s expected of them.
Our training and development will help you to identify courses of action when these events occur and how to turn them into positive learning opportunites .
Help Them Develop
Foster carers help children develop physically and emotionally. This could be arranging dental and eye check-ups or other medical attention. You’ll encourage children to learn and enjoy school and help them with their homework, and to develop their interests and hobbies at your foster homes in London.
You might need to be there to help young people struggling with relationships or other growing up issues. Sometimes they just need to know that you are listening to them and looking out for them. Being able to chat about what is on their mind is something young people really appriecate (maybe later in their life).
Working with Others
Part of your fostering role includes working with other people who have responsibilities for foster children such as the child’s social worker or independent reviewing officer. You will be involved with meetings helping to understand the development of your foster children and how they should be looked after. You might work with specialists helping your foster child to understand and learn about their condition.
You will also need to work with the agency helping other carers by sharing your experiences and continuing to learn through training and development sessions and reviews.
I didn’t really understand the term “trauma” when I first started fostering. It makes more sense now.
I can now see how children find it difficult. I’ve learned how to support children so that they can talk about how they felt and turn that into a positive experience. Returning to the situation later when they might be able to talk more calmly about how they were feeling which helps them, and me to learn about them.
What Do Foster Carers Do?
Besides the daily activities that any family will have like getting the children to school, providing meals and helping with homework, foster carers also have some more responsibilities. Thankfully, you would not have all of these activites on the same day though!
A Foster Carer’s Diary
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Children in care have to undergo statutory medical examinations. You will need to get them registered with your local GP and arrange these appointments. You will need to register at a local dentist and might also need to arrange visits to the opticians or other specialist appointments depending on the needs of the child in your care.
Your Synergy Supervising social worker will visit your home regularly to listen to you talk about the progress of the child and your development as a foster family. At the start of a placement this will be more frequent. Foster Carers develop a positive relationship with their Social Worker who is there for you throughout your career. Stability is important.
Looked After Children Meeting
This meeting might take place in your home or elsewhere. All the people involved with the care of your foster child will be invited to discuss the plans for the child and what support needs to be provided. A person known as the Independent Reviewing Officer will run this meeting and you will be supported by your Supervising Social Worker.
Personal Education Plan Meetings at School
Most Children in Care have a Personal Education Plan or PEP to make sure that they get the best possible support in education. You will be invited to attend these meetings with the teachers at your child’s school. These are in addition to parents evenings that you will also be expected to attend.
Foster Carer Support Group
Foster Carers can provide each other with very valuable support and share experiences at Foster Parent Support Group meetings. These are usually held centrally at a venue where people can relax. The Supervising Social Workers will run this meeting but the topics discussed are usually set by the carers themselves.
There is a comprehensive menu of training courses designed to enable you to find out about the areas of fostering that affect you and the placement you have or might be interested in caring for in the future. Training courses give carers an opportunity to meet and work together, but we also have online training for those who need it.
Once a year you will have a review of your fostering to date. Focussed on your development this is a great opportunity to reflect on what you have achieved and how Synergy can support you in your development over the following year. This will be documented in a report that will form the basis of your development plan for the next year.
Health & Safety Visit
Once a year, you will participate in a review of Health & Safety in your home to ensure that you are up to date with all the things that keep your home safe at a practical level.
You might have a few actions to take to keep your home safe.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fostering
Do I need any experience to do fostering?
There is no particular experience that is necessary to do fostering. However we would expect you to be able to demonstrate to us how you have cared for children before (perhaps others peoples children) and your experience of parenting. How would you deal with the type of situations that might occur with a child in your home?
Do I need to be able to speak and write in English?
As a foster carer you will be expected to communicate with other professionals over the telephone and in person. You will need to be able to make yourself understood and be confident to speak to others about situations you observe. You also need to write short reports each day about the progress of the child known as “logs”
Do fostering families always own their home?
Foster families need to have a secure tenancy in their accomodation. We will ask your landlord for permission for you to foster in that home and we will expect that there is a formal tenancy agreement. Even if you own your home, you will need to demonstrate that you are the owner and that you are named on the mortgage documents if they exist. All those named in the mrtgage will be asked for their permission for you to foster at that address.
Can you work and foster at the same time?
Providing that you are able to meet all the needs of the foster child (as a priority over your work) and attend training and meetings that are required to sustain the foster placement then flexible work is acceptable.
Some of our carers are able to do full time work and foster when they care for older children but they still have to take time off work whent he foster child is sick or has problems at school. What would you do if the foster child was excluded from school?
Some employers are fostering friendly such as Tesco and they will allow time off to undertake fostering activities.
Talk to us about your plans and we can use our experience to help you decide if this will work for the foster child and you.