There is never a dull moment when fostering but of course, with so many rewards it is not without its challenges. So what is it that foster carers ‘get’ from fostering? Why is it that they continue to open their hearts, lives and homes to children?
Every foster parent will have their own take on foster care and what it means to them. The rewards, they say, are priceless.
It’s about making a difference
When was the last time you made a difference to someone? The likelihood, you may not know it but with fostering, you can bask in the knowledge that you have and do make a difference in the life of a foster child.
Children who have been fostered will often continue to talk about their foster parents and families for many years to come. They understand now that they are adults, the difficulties and challenges they presented at a time when they were at their most vulnerable and how, as a foster carer, you were patient, non-judgemental and empathetic – and how you were ‘there’ for them.
Some foster carers refer to this as a feeling unlike no other. There is nothing that to compare it too. And this feeling is one that is good for anyone’s soul.
Comes with financial reward
No one becomes a foster carer because of money. There are times when all the money in the world won’t make a difference but we have to face facts: modern life is not only busy but the cost of living is rising.
Fostering places an additional expense on your household budget. But there is also a growing school of thought that the fostering process is asking ‘ordinary’ people to do an extraordinary job.
It can be pressured, challenging and difficult – and as such, fostering should be rewarded well financially.
And this is why fostering agencies will often have competitive fostering financial packages so that they can retain foster carers who continue to offer fantastic opportunities to vulnerable children and sometimes, they birth families too.
As well as fostering allowances, foster parents may also be entitled to benefits depending on the needs of the child. There are also tax breaks too for foster carers as part of Government incentives to attract more people to fostering.
A chance to learn new skills
For a long time, fostering was seen as a vocation or a ‘calling’. In some ways, this isn’t far from the truth.
People who foster tend to have a certain outlook on life. Positive and with boundless energy, they understand that negative behaviour of foster children is not a reflection on them personally, but symptomatic of the trauma, grief and pain that lays within.
It is in recent years that the face of fostering started to change. It is now seen as a vocation and a career too.
And for foster carers that means opportunities to learn new skills. Many foster carers are taking up these opportunities, becoming specialists in their fields.
For example, therapeutic fostering is a careful blend and balance of asking the non-confrontational questions at the right time. It is also a process by which the foster child is helped to process the past and embrace the future.
It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes times, commitment and perseverance from knowledgeable and skilled foster carers – and you could be that person!
Contributing to the sense community
Sometimes, a foster carer looks after children who are part of their local community. This is important in so many ways – for the child, it can mean staying at the same school, keeping the same friends and possibly enjoying contact with their birth parents or extended family.
When a child can safely stay in their community, this is the ideal situation.
But as a foster carer, your reach extends beyond your immediate community and to society at large.
Fostering is without a doubt one of the most rewarding things you can do. And with few barriers to becoming a foster carer, why don’t you take a look at the rewards it offers?
Active Care Solutions is a fostering agency with an impeccable reputation for supporting its foster carers with training and competitive allowances. They are currently recruiting foster families.