Becoming a foster family

Foster caring is an invaluable process that offers a stable and loving home to children and young people who need it. Ahead of Foster Care Fortnight, two foster carers explain why you should take the leap to expand your family.

In Scotland, there are over 5,000 children in foster care, and many more waiting for the perfect placement. Children may require fostering for a variety of reasons, and if you can offer a child the commitment, care and support they need to thrive, then fostering could be an option for you and your family.

LEAP

Across the country numerous agencies, such as Barnardo’s, Swiis and Action for Children are working hard to match children and young people with foster carers and families who will provide them with the care that they need to flourish.

Jules Durrant had been considering fostering for 20 years prior to looking into the process. After having two children of her own, she and her family decided to take the leap into fostering together, with the help of Swiis.

“We’ve been fostering now for  seven years,” says Jules. “Once we’d actually been approved, the biggest thing I remember was pure relief. I remember that feeling of anticipation and I still get that feeling when we have a vacancy.”

FAMILY

Fostering is extremely rewarding and is something that the whole family can feel the benefits of. If you have your own children, it is important to ensure they feel included throughout the process, to find out what it will mean to them.

“The thing that stood out for us most with Swiis was their interest in ensuring that our own children’s needs remained a priority and that fostering wouldn’t have a detrimental impact on their lives,” explains Jules. “Swiis really considered the views of our children. At the time, my daughter was around 12 and she was very excited about it all. My son was still very young, but that’s  actually worked out well because he’s grown up with it, so he doesn’t really know any different.”

Life as a foster family means that no one day is the same, and there’s no denying that juggling everyone’s hobbies and interests can be hectic. But, the rewards more than make up for it.

“We have three school-age foster children in placement, so our main tasks as foster carers include planning for their day and their week with school, clubs, homework, and just making time to listen to their day and what they’ve been up to,” Jules enthuses.

“Everyone has their own interests, so we’ve got swimming, karate, Cubs, Rainbows, drama. There’s quite a lot of running around. But, if you’re really enjoying what you’re doing, it’s just part of your day-to-day role in the family, ensuring you’re giving them the best experience.”

SUPPORT NETWORK

Razwana Khan also found that the support from her family was invaluable throughout their fostering journey with Barnardo’s.

“I have that family support and we work together as a team,” she enthuses. “My husband and I have four children of our own, and our foster child is part of our family. We want all of our children to be part of the fostering experience – we just all work together as a team.

“Some people think that fostering is really challenging, but when you become a foster carer and you have a child placed with you, it’s completely different. I used to think I wouldn’t be able to do it, but it’s a totally different picture when you have a foster child. You’re learning from them and they’re learning from you.”

DIFFERENCE

Fostering is a journey that has both challenges and highlights, but it can be made even easier with the support of your loved ones. Together, you can make a real difference to a child’s life.

“One of the biggest things you need is the support of your family and making sure that you all work together as a team,” Jules advises.

“It’s important that the foster child feels a part of that family and that team. I think that’s what helps it all gel together, when they feel valued and part of something.

“This gives the foster children a chance to see what it’s like to live in a loving family that puts their needs above your own. In doing that, I think you automatically give the children confidence and by showing them that you believe in them, they start to believe in themselves.”

To find out more about fostering, visit Barnardo’s Scotland or Swiis.

FOSTER WITH ACTION FOR CHILDREN

For over 150 years, Action for Children has been working tirelessly to ensure all children can grow up in a safe, happy environment, enabling them to thrive throughout childhood and as they grow up.

With specialist support services, the charity works to ensure every child has the best start in life, and is part of a safe and loving home. Part of this work includes their fostering service, which matches children with stable homes and families across the UK.

Action for Children provides extensive training and support every step of the way. Their foster carers also have access to support groups  and social events, meaning that you’ll always have peer support available, as well as advice from the service. With help on hand 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, you’re never alone when you foster with Action for Children. If you are passionate about making a difference to a young person’s life, and have energy and space in your life then fostering could be for you.

To speak to the fostering team at Action for Children, call 0141 222 1770, email fostercare.caps@actionforchildren.org.uk, or visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk/fostering for more information.

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