The role of a Foster Carer is to offer a secure, loving and stable home environment where children can achieve their full potential.
Fostering is all about providing short term care for children who cannot be looked after by their own families. You will provide a safe, caring and loving home for the child, who may visit their birth family from time to time.
A huge benefit of fostering is that you can make a real difference to the life of a child. Each child has different needs, so we offer training and support to help you meet them. The most important requirements are enthusiasm and commitment from you as well as having spare capacity in your home and heart for a child.
Every child has different needs and reasons why they need to be fostered. These might include:
- a parent being ill
- abuse or neglect
- parental separation, divorce or other relationship breakdown
- parental substance misuse, mental health issues or imprisonment
- temporary family crisis
As well as providing day-to-day nurturing and support, foster carers are expected to:
- Encourage the child’s contact with their birth family when it’s safe to do so – this may include hosting visits, delivering letters or picking up phone calls.
- Work closely with social workers, schools and other professionals involved with the child.
- Be sensitive to the needs of any other children in the household and ensure they are given fair treatment.
- Foster carers must be at least 21 years old and have separate bedrooms for each child (with some exceptions). There is no upper age limit for foster carers, although it is unlikely that you will be considered if you’re over 70.
Other key aspects of the role include:
- Providing a safe, stable and nurturing environment for the child.
- Working closely with the child’s birth family, social worker and other professionals to help achieve positive outcomes for the child.
- Contributing to the child’s education and development through monitoring school attendance and ensuring homework is completed.
- Maintaining regular contact with the child’s social worker, either in person or by telephone or email.
- Attending meetings with other professionals involved in the child’s case.
- At times, acting as an advocate for the child in meetings and court proceedings.
Foster carers are guided by the department’s policies and procedures, which cover topics such as:
- The child’s day-to-day needs
- Child protection
- Working with the child’s family, other services and community members
- They also have the support of an assigned caseworker to help them meet each child’s needs.