Foster carers can amass an impressive skill set through the training opportunities they are offered. For the children they care for, this is great news because it means a growing band of foster parents with the right skills and outlook to help them as they deal with an often traumatic past.
Foster children are unable to live with their birth parents or families for many reasons. The two biggest factors in removing a child from their birth families are abuse and neglect.
Children are not taken into care on a whim. There will have been many interventions put in place to support and help the family, but there comes a time when the right thing for all involved is for the child to live with foster carers.
For any child, no matter how young or old they may be, to be removed from their parents or family to live with foster carers is a traumatic experience.
Unsure of how to deal with such a strong range of emotions, a foster child can behave in a way that is a cause for concern. They may not sleep, they may have ‘irrational’ fears, they may wet the bed, bite or punch other people, children or even themselves and appear intent on fighting back against everyone and everything.
A foster carer is a special person. They have a positive outlook and a natural aptitude for seeing past this ‘acting out’ to nurture the scared child beneath.
But everyone has their limits. And when limits are reached it is time to upskill, equipping foster carers with the more ‘specialist’ skills that are needed to work with a child traumatized and damaged by their early childhood.
Every foster carer is trained
As part of the application to foster process, every carer goes through initial foster training. This comprehensive course tackles all kinds of subjects from managing challenging behavior to child protection.
Many people come to fostering fuelled by great intentions, and these are welcome. But sometimes, no matter how much we love and nurture a child, there are times when sadly this isn’t enough.
And sometimes the right people to provide the specialist support they need is the foster carer.
Many foster carers will attend various training sessions on a number of topics throughout their fostering careers. This means they not only gain valuable skills and extra insight into various topics, but they also stay relevant and up to date in their knowledge.
Some foster carers choose to go to as many training sessions as possible and become highly skilled in certain areas of foster care. Safeguarding, for example, is ensuring that children are safe so that they can enjoy their childhood.
It is known that our childhood experiences shape us into the adults that we become. We understand that life isn’t always a brilliant experience and that there can be dark times and sad times.
If your parents helped and supported you through these times, you were safe to explore what some of these issues meant.
For some children in care, this support and love wasn’t there, and this meant they found themselves in situations that caused them physical and/or emotional harm.
Foster carers are skilled at safeguarding children, helping them to explore their feelings but without making themselves vulnerable. It can be hard to understand why someone ‘used’ to violence seem to seek it out, for example – if it what a child has always known, they will try to find it.
Equipped to foster
Fostering a child is tough. And yet, the rewards are beyond what you thought they would ever be. It is tiring and challenging helping a child damaged and traumatized to face their past but look to their future too.
But with training and support, thousands of foster carers across the UK make a difference in a foster child’s life every day.
Active Care Solutions are currently recruiting foster carers to offer the safe and secure home that every foster child needs. Could you be that person?