Reflecting on your role as a foster carer

fostercareHave you ever stopped to reflect on your role as a foster carer? What aspects you enjoy most? What you find challenging? What your strengths as a foster carer are? Being a foster carer is a very rewarding but also challenging role and you spend most of your time thinking of others and considering how they are feeling. Why not stop for a moment and think about you?!

Cathy Glass – author and foster carer has done exactly that and reflected on her role as a foster carer:

Challenges and Rewards?

The most rewarding part of fostering is seeing the improvements and progress a child makes and learning to trust and smile again. That’s wonderful. The most challenging is listening to a child disclose abuse. It is heartbreaking. I also struggle when it comes to saying goodbye at the end of a placement.

Profession or vocation?

Both!! As a foster carer, you have to want and enjoy working with children. But like other careers, foster carers also receive training and have to meet certain standards. It is a very hands on job, so the more experience you receive, the better you become at it!

What do you enjoy most about fostering?

It is an amazing job and I enjoy every aspect of fostering, even the meetings!What it truly wonderful though and makes all the hard work completely worthwhile is to see a child improve, gain confidence and learn to trust again!

How would your life have been different if you hadn’t gone into fostering?

My life revolves around fostering and all it entails so that it a difficult question to answer. Fostering is all-encompassing and life-changing. It would certainly have been a different life without fostering, and I suspect a far less rewarding one….

foster-care-abuseWhat does it take to be a foster carer?

What is important is a desire to work with children and young people. I have always loved working with children and that is key to being a foster carer! You also need to have empathy for the child, and an understanding of the circumstances that has brought that child into care. Young people in care have had a lot to deal with and need a lot of patience and understanding. You also need to be able to remain calm in difficult situations. Don’t be afraid to say no, though. Young people need to know the boundaries. You work alongside a team of professionals also involved with the young person in your care, so you need to be a team player, have good communication skills and be well organised. Lastly, keep a good sense of humour!! There will be days when you just want to scream but tomorrow is another day and the rewards certainly outweigh the challenging days! And remember to make time for your family. Being a foster carer can consume a lot of your time so make sure you give your own family your time too…and of course yourself!