Before considering becoming a foster parent, you will need to think about whether it is the right path for you. Fostering is not for everyone, and there are a few things you might want to think about when determining whether fostering is the right thing for you.
So, if you are asking yourself ‘is fostering the right one for me ,’ or ‘why should I foster?’ here is a list of other questions you might want to be asking yourself as well.
Do I have other existing commitments?
Fostering will take up a lot of your time. In fact, it is one of the most time-consuming professions you can undertake. If you have existing commitments, you will need to seriously consider how much time will be dedicated to fostering a child.
It is important that you also consider the other members of your household and family. Every person who lives with you will play a role in the foster child’s life. If you have children of your own who live with you, you will need to make them aware that they will be sharing their home, their toys, and their parents with a stranger.
For some families, this is a too bigger commitment – so be sure to be honest with everyone in your household. We recommend you ask your children how they would feel about having another child in their home and really listen to their answer. You can find out more about how fostering can affect your family here.
Am I patient?
A foster parent needs to have a lot of patience, as they will be continually giving to their foster children, and it may take some time to properly see any sort of reward. However, when the rewards do start showing (such as a breakthrough at school, or just a simple ‘please’) you will really start to feel you are making a difference.
Can I deal with complex emotions?
If you become a foster parent, the children that come into your care will often have complex emotional needs. You need to be prepared for this and know that you will be giving far more than you are receiving, for the most part.
Children that go into care are often from neglected backgrounds, so it is completely understandable that they might have complex behavioural and emotional needs. You will need to be expected to handle this with sensitivity and support, as they may try to take these confusing emotions out on you. This is a difficult thing to come to terms with, but as long as you know you are doing all you can to support the child, then you are doing enough.
At Compass, will give you 24/7 support should you need us. You will have your own Compass Supervising Social Worker, along with access to an on-call service day and night. Training is provided and encouraged, making sure you can provide the best care for each child.
Can I deal with saying ‘goodbye’?
As opposed to adoption, whereby you then become the child’s legal parent, as a foster parent you need to be prepared to say goodbye to the children you care for.
There are many differences between fostering and adopting that you will want to be aware of before deciding to become a foster parent.
Social workers will be visiting my home regularly – am I okay with this?
From very early on in your fostering journey, you will have social workers visiting your home regularly. During the initial assessment, they may come to your home anywhere between six and twelve times; so, you need to make sure this is something you are okay with.
Following on from this, you’ll have weekly check ins with your Compass Supervising Social Worker, along with meetings with your foster child’s SW too. There will be many faces and names involved, so it’s good to prepare for visitors!
Do I have a strong support network around me?
Fostering a child can be challenging, at times. It is so important that you have someone who will listen if you need support. If you do not have an existing support network, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t still consider fostering. There are plenty of support groups available for people who foster – in fact, many agencies have their own support groups available for you to join.
At Compass we have a whole host of different support networks available to you. You can find out more about how our foster carers support each other, and what kind of benefits and support Compass provide .
These questions might be a bit tricky to answer; they may even be a little upsetting. However, the rewards you could gain from fostering are endless. Fostering is a big commitment, so you need to make sure you give it a lot of thought and time before deciding it is the right thing for you. Becoming a foster parent is the most rewarding role you can undertake, we want to make sure everyone gets the relevant information before you begin your journey.
If, after asking yourself these questions, you are still interested in learning more about how to become a foster parent, you can contact us on 0800 566 8317 or request a digital brochure today to find out more.