What is foster care?
Embarking on a career as a foster carer is one of the most exciting and rewarding decisions you can make. However, if you’re new to fostering, you’re bound to have questions. Hopefully we can answer these below. If not, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to help!
As a foster carer you will be caring for a child in your own home. Placements can last from just a few days to several years and are needed for a variety of reasons including bereavement, illness, breakdown in family relationships or other difficulties at home.
Foster carers work in partnership with the fostering agency, childrens services departments, and the child’s parents to ensure the child has a happy, safe and supportive home life in which they can thrive.
Each child is different, but Tree House Care always strives to find the best individual solution for their needs – and we will work closely with you to achieve this.
Who can be a foster carer?
Although being a foster carer is incredibly rewarding, it is also challenging. You will need patience, flexibility, empathy and an ability to handle difficult situations. It also helps to have first-hand experience of looking after children, either as a parent or through work. Also, your home needs to be suitable, with a spare bedroom for the child.
How can I help?
Our children are aged between 0 and 18, and, whatever their background, they will need your full support and understanding during what is usually a traumatic time for them.
As a foster carer, you can make a vital difference to a young person’s life, helping them to adjust to new circumstances and go on to thrive. It can be tough, yes, but few careers are as fulfilling!
How long does it take to become a foster carer?
A foster carer has the potential to transform young lives so it’s essential that we ensure you are truly suited to the role. The selection process takes about six months. During this time we spend many hours with you and your family, getting to know you and assessing the impact fostering is likely to have, as well as identifying the strengths you can bring.
We carry out several statutory checks including a Disclosure & Barring Service check. We ask for work and personal references. Tree House Care also ask you to undergo a full medical examination, so we can be confident you’re in good health.
But it’s not all one-way. We also put you in touch with experienced foster carers so you can get a first-hand feel for the highs and lows of fostering. This way you can decide whether fostering really is right for you and your family before you take the plunge!
What training and support is available?
At Tree House Care, we’re behind you every step of the way, with 24/7 support whenever you need it. We are also accredited Investors in People, reflecting our commitment to helping all our staff and foster carers reach their full potential.
Each foster carer is treated as a valued team member. Help is always just a phone call away and we’ll meet with you at least once a month to make sure you have all the advice and guidance you could want.
During the period leading up to your approval as a foster carer, you will receive valuable training to set you on the path to success. You will also be invited to attend regular workshops where you will look at a wide range of topics including dealing with children who have suffered loss or abuse and keeping children safe.
Will I have to give up work?
Foster children invariably need a high level of care and support and so it’s important that at least one carer is at home full time. However if you’re working at present, we wouldn’t expect you to give up work until your foster child is due to arrive at your home.
What if I already have children?
Many foster carers have children of their own. However, it is important to understand that fostering does have an impact on your own family dynamics.
As your own children will have to share you with a foster child, who may be quite challenging, we advise new applicants to wait until their own children are settled in secondary school.