Children of all ages are placed in foster care for periods of time ranging from one night to several years. There are many reasons why a child may need to be placed into foster care and these could include the inability of their family to care for them due to issues of long term neglect. It may be that a parent is suffering a period of physical or mental ill health, which affects their ability to care for their child/children. There may have been physical or sexual abuse of a child within the family and foster care provides a place of safety for that child. Many children have experienced a disrupted and traumatic childhood and have developed challenging behaviour which needs to be addressed within a safe and secure family with support from the appropriate organisations, such as Social Services or behaviour therapists.
Foster care may be used to remand children/ young people by the Court rather than return them to their family or place them in a secure setting. Families of children with severe behavioural difficulties or complex disabilities may benefit from some support in the form of ‘respite’. Foster care can be used in these circumstances and the child will spend short periods of time, perhaps a weekend on a regular basis with a foster family to give families a break from what can often be difficult challenges. Foster care can also be used to look after unaccompanied refugees or asylum seeking children.
Whatever the reasons behind a child being placed in foster care, the likelihood is that all will be experiencing some difficulties in their lives and often their fear and uncertainty will be reflected in their behaviours. Many of us find it difficult to cope with new situations and we all react in different ways to stress. The same is true for foster children and you may experience behaviours ranging from being very withdrawn to displaying angry and disruptive behaviour. As a foster carer you will receive the training required to recognise these behaviours and support your foster child as they settle into your family. Your supervising social worker will also be available for you to discuss any concerns you have.
If you need further information on any aspect of Fostering then either visit our F.A.Q. page where you will find the answers to many of the questions often asked by prospective foster carers or send a message via the form on this page and a member of the team will contact you in person.