Being a foster carer means opening up your home to children in need, and working tirelessly to show them love, stability, compassion, and care. However, fulfilling this mandate doesn’t come without its obstacles, which can include pushback from foster children who are dealing with past trauma. With this in mind, we offer insights below on who to include in your support network.
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Agencies like Fostering People are just as committed to improving the lives of children in need as you are, and they’re always on hand to lend support. For example, they can offer financial assistance, training, and access to a wealth of other resources.
Both you and your agency need to sing from the same hymn sheet, so don’t simply align yourself with the first agency you see. When you’re deciding on a foster agency to register with, spend time researching their philosophy and approach, available services, location, and reputation.
Family and Friends
Family and friends are a fantastic source of support as a foster carer and for life in general, so don’t be afraid to lean on them when you need a little advice or a simple rant. When asking your loved ones for support, be transparent about your needs, be specific, make it easy for them to help out, and show appreciation.
Fellow Foster Carers
Some of the best people to turn to for support as a foster carer are fellow foster carers. They understand what you’re going through, and they may be holding the useful insights you’ve been searching for.
To expand your network of foster care peers, contact your agency because they may host support groups and other activities for their carers. As well as this, you can search online for local or digital communities of foster carers.
Other Relevant Professionals
Your foster care support network stretches far and wide and includes various professionals ranging from teachers to social workers. When your loved ones or foster agency can’t offer support, consider reaching out to a more knowledgeable professional. For example, if your foster child is struggling to process their emotions, a therapist or psychologist will provide the necessary support.
Tips for Building a Strong Support Network
To strengthen your support network, identify your specific needs. Do you need emotional support? Practical help? Or a listening ear? When you understand your needs, you can determine which people are in a position to help. To make it easier for people to offer support, dig further into your needs and be more specific. For example, instead of saying you “need help”, try saying something like “I need help with the school run on a Monday afternoon”.
Once you’ve received support and overcome obstacles, show some gratitude by telling the person how much you appreciate them. This can make all the difference and puts you in a position to leverage their support in the future.
While you’re on the frontline providing care to foster children, you are never alone in your journey. Learn to recognise when you need support, and don’t be afraid to reach out to your network.