Before you start your first foster care adventure and welcome a child in care, there are certain things you should know. You have been through the obligatory training and learned everything there is to know about how to be a foster carer, but navigating life on the other side takes more than just having facts and figures in your bag. This guide explains a few core pointers that will be helpful as you move along the journey.
Your Communication Style is the Key to Success
Learning how to communicate effectively is a vital skill every foster carer needs to know. It will determine so much from how you manage to connect with the children you look after to your advocating style as well.
Authentic relationships are built when the communication is strong on both sides, so by modelling healthy conversation skills you are also encouraging any child to do the same as they develop too. Demonstrating this will enable them to connect with you and their peers, and feel more confident to engage with vital services like employment and education too.
Understanding Foster Carer Allowances
When you begin to look after a child as a carer, your agency will pay an allowance. This is to cover the costs of feeding and clothing a young person plus things like days out and enrichment activities too. You can find more about your agency allowance rates from official information like fcascotland.co.uk, and it should also be made clear throughout your training and initiation too. The allowance exists for foster carers to lean on as a source of financial support, but it is not specifically categorised as a salary.
Having a Solid Support System Is Beneficial
This role is a highly rewarding one with many positive things and benefits along the way. However, anyone looking after a child needs strong connections and a great support network. This is a big part of being a successful foster carer because everyone needs to vent and unwind from time to time.
Your mental health is important, and socialisation is a big part of what makes it strong. You can find invaluable connections with other foster carers in your network but don’t forget to lean on family and friends as well. Make time for your partner and use channels of support like respite care placements so that you have space that is yours as well within this commitment.
Preparation Is Important
Any freshly approved foster carer should take the time to understand what it means to be truly ready for a child to come and live with them. This means ensuring the bedroom is tidy and fully equipped, and you are mentally switched on for the initial meet and greet too. This big moment won’t define how things go, but it will count toward how comfortable a child feels. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel as the time grows nearer.
Navigating life as a foster carer brings many twists and turns, lots of which are highly positive experiences. There will be so much to learn, and you will get used to thinking on your feet too!