Comments from foster carers

Foster carer 1

“Looking after someone else’s ‘hurt’ child, reassuring them of their own worth and enabling them to deal with their own pain is both demanding and rewarding.  Realising that we don’t have the answers but that a comfortable rewarding environment  will do for the time being is a great bit of self discovery whilst learning to joke with angry teenagers instead of offering platitudes goes a long way in the development of healthy relationships. In short, fostering can create a safe place for a hurt human, it doesn’t always help, but it can and that living with hope makes sharing our home worthwhile.”

Foster carer 2

I was approved as a short-term foster carer 3½ years ago and wow, has this been a learning and emotional roller coaster!  It is hard to encapsulate in a short piece what the whole experience has been like.

What words should I choose? Well first and foremost it has been rewarding.  Not fluffy round the edges rewarding, but deep satisfying life-changing rewarding.  It is easy to forget the loss that looked after children have suffered in their young lives.  In the midst of their loss and grief how easy it is to forget that as a child taken into care you are expected to adjust and adapt to completely different surroundings, a different lifestyle and live with people you’ve never met before.  That means getting to know all their wider family and friends. If you are a school age child this can mean a new school.  Could you do that?  Think how you feel if you are starting a new job, moving to a new place or suffering the loss of the people you have known and loved best all your life.  If I was to add up all these things I’d find myself kicking and screaming and begging for this not to be happening to me but realising that I have no choice.  Children react differently of course.  Some may become aggressive; others may become withdrawn and may even be unnaturally compliant.

Children suffering that loss need dedicated carers. Perhaps you were taken into care as a child, or have had experiences that give you an understanding or empathy for such children.  Perhaps you care enough to share your life with such children.  Wouldn’t you like to be able to help children feel as safe, secure and loved as possible, help them to cope with trauma, include them as part of your family and nurture them in a way that should be every child’s right.

Many people don’t start the process because they say they could never give the children up?  If this is you then just ask yourself in what way does that help these children? Children aren’t given up - they move on, often to a permanent home where they can grow and develop. As a foster carer you could take comfort in the knowledge that you have played a part in their development.   

It is a big step becoming a foster carer, and often fear of what it may bring stops people pursuing their initial interest.  Even if you have a spark of interest – and I believe you have because you’ve read this far – I urge you to at least find out a little more.  If you do decide to progress there’s an in depth introduction and assessment process which is very enlightening and will help equip and inform you about what is involved and expected when looking after a child in foster care. So you will have plenty of time come to your own decision about proceeding with the process or not."

Single foster carer

“I became involved in fostering because I care about people and society in general.  In a way I see fostering as taking on board some of the responsibility, in a practical sense I enjoy being part of a care package which provides help and enjoyment to children and perhaps support to their parents during what is probably a difficult time in their lives.  On the other side of the coin, the benefits to me and my family are enormous.  I have learned so much from my experiences so far and realise that I have yet much to learn.”