What Makes a Foster Carer?

Archived: Posted May 31, 2013

What makes a foster carer? Is it love and empathy? Experience and training? What matters more – the ability to emotionally understand a foster child’s situation or having the skills to deal with it?

I’ve been thinking about this for the last few days – pitting training against human nature, textbook against intuition. And when it comes to us foster carers, I’m trying to figure out what comes out on top.

All prospective foster carers complete a pre-approval training programme. It’s a compulsory part of the process that helps you understand and prepare for the challenges ahead. There are group discussions, scenarios and role play. You’re encouraged to visualise, imagine and think about things that could or may happen. What would you do, say, feel, experience? How would you cope?

There’s a common thread here and it can be summed up in one word; theory. Pre-approval training is fantastic and immensely helpful. But it has its limits. Because, in the end, it’s hypothetical. And fostering is real – very real.

It’s all about learning on the job. Because no one can ever fully teach you how to put back together the remains of a disrupted life – what fits where and exactly how to provide the extra pieces, like love and understanding, that will help to complete the picture.

What training can do is to equip you with the skills to deal with issues like safer caring, attachment disorders and behavioural issues. What it can’t do is teach you how to respond to the individual needs of different foster children, each of whom has a unique story and their own, very personal, set of baggage.

At its best, training is a form of orientation and preparation. It’s like stretching before a marathon or looking before crossing the road. You can try without it, but you won’t get far. Avoid it altogether and there’s potential for disaster.

But fostering takes much more than training. It takes innate, invaluable skills that can’t be taught – like patience, compassion, endurance.

Oh, and time too. Plenty of that.

Mrs. C

GO BACK

How can we help?

Ready to start fostering a child or young person? Or just want a bit more information to help you decide whether fostering is for you? All you need to do is contact us.

Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we're here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call me back

Haven't got time to chat now? Leave your details and we'll call you back at a time that suits you:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Why do we need this? So we can email you a brochure.
  • Why do we need this? We appreciate that starting to foster is a big decision that needs careful consideration and you are likely to have questions. We’d like to help answer those questions.
  • Please enter your postcode to see news and events in your area.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we,re here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call me back

Haven't got time to chat now? Leave your details and we'll call you back at a time that suits you:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Why do we need this? So we can email you a brochure.
  • Why do we need this? We appreciate that starting to foster is a big decision that needs careful consideration and you are likely to have questions. We’d like to help answer those questions.
  • Please enter your postcode to see news and events in you area
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Share This With A Friend