The Challenges And Rewards Of Being a Foster Carer

Child's face profile closeup

This is a guest article by Rebecca Harper.

For reasons unknown, fostering is often associated with adoption. Both involve taking care of a child that isn’t your own* but what many people don’t understand is that fostering is as much a career choice as anything else. Fostering gets a bad reputation as being a role for hardened people willing to take care of difficult children, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Forget everything you’ve ever seen on TV and in films about foster children being impossible to care for. When you start to understand the tremendous pressure a foster child is under, it becomes clear that any bad behaviour is completely justified. Fostering a child in need is a highly rewarding position that will have a positive impact on everyone involved. Here are just some of the positive ways you can have an impact on a child’s life and future through fostering.

Boost Their Self-Esteem

A young person who has been in foster care is likely to have gone through a lot of issues in their life. This could have started from a young age with problems of abuse and neglect. One of the negative outcomes of this is that they will have lacked a strong role model in their lives. By fostering a young person, you will give them the opportunity to build their trust and boost their self-esteem. By boosting their self-esteem they will also be happier and learn to trust people.

The Lasting Effects Of Fostering

Typically, when the young person comes to live with you, it may only be on a temporary basis or they might stay with your for a few years until they are 18 and no longer need to be in care. They will likely spend a lot of time with their foster parents within this time and by them having an opportunity to spend time with a parental figure, a bond will be built through the life advice which is given. This type of relationship often has a long-term effect on a foster child because trust will be built and lessons will be learnt that will be used later on in their life.

Improve Their Education

If a young person has been with a foster agency or has been living in difficult conditions for large parts of their life, it is possible that their education will have been hindered. It is of course very important for all young people to go to school and pass all the required subjects. By choosing to foster a young person, you can give them the opportunity to have a routine in their life, where going to school can be the priority.

Your Help Is Needed

Choosing to foster a child or a young person is a decision that definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are obvious reasons why you may not want to make this big change to your life, but consider what this change could be like for a young person. There are currently shortages of foster carers throughout the UK, particularly in the Northwest, so if you’re considering fostering in Lancashire, Manchester or Cumbria, your support will be very much appreciated. Not only by the private fostering agencies and local authorities responsible for placing vulnerable children, but also by the young people whose lives you will change for the better.

* once an Adoption Order is granted, a child is in fact legally the adopters’ own child. The context of this article is talking about biological children. – Ed.