Fostering means looking after children who cannot live with their birth family on a short-term basis for days, weeks, months or for the rest of their childhood if you are able to offer a permanent family.
Why do children become accommodated away from home?
Children are accommodated away from home because their birth family is unable to provide suitable care at that time. Parents may have a short-term difficulty which they need time to resolve, for example, hospital admission or a substance misuse issue, or there may be issues of neglect or abuse that means the child is unsafe and requires protection and care.
What happens next?
Children can come to foster carers at very short notice or placements can be planned. There are ongoing child planning processes which will decide if the child can return home or requires to be accommodated in the longer term. Our foster carers providing care for the child are central to our assessment and in supporting children while decisions are made.
Sometimes when children cannot return home, they are placed permanently with foster carers or may be adopted. Our carers will be involved in this and will help the child prepare for this. If they are able to, they will sometimes provide the permanent family placement themselves.
Foster carers must have patience and understanding to support the child with feelings of grief and anger, and help the child develop their confidence and resilience.
Supporting children to feel safe and nurtured brings great rewards. Seeing the child relax, engage and grow as a healthy and active individual, engaged in education and their community is a worthwhile process. We recognise and reward our carers for their achievements in supporting vulnerable children.