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There are several questions you need to ask yourself prior to becoming a foster parent. After gathering information from a foster care agency, you might ask yourself the following questions:

Do you have a support system such as from friends and family? This is important, as fostering a child can become very challenging at times. It's helpful to have someone close to you who will listen if you need to vent and just be there for you, to support you if you need it. If you don't have a support system already in place and decide to go ahead with your plans, be sure to participate in support groups. Many agencies hold their own support group meetings. If not consider starting your own with other foster parents.

Are you a patient person? Are you willing to give continually with the knowledge that you are helping a family and a child have a better life. Many people enter foster care thinking that they are rescuing a poor child from an abusive parent. These foster parents believe that the child will be grateful and relieved to be out of their home situation. This is rarely the case. Abuse is all that the child may know. The child's bad situation could be his/her "normal." Be prepared for the child to be anything but happy about being in your home. In other words, examine your expectations. What are you expecting? Not only from the child but from his or her parents and the fostering experience itself?

Kids in care have sometimes been neglected, physically, sexually, mentally and emotionally abused. The children can be angry, resentful and sad. They may take it out on their foster parents. Are you willing and able to deal with all this and coupe when it gets tough? Are you willing to have social workers visit your home on regular occasions? Can you work in a partnership with a team of professionals to help the child either get back home or to another permanent placement, such as adoption? This goal requires excellent communication skills on your part, and a commitment to follow the plan set forth by the social workers.

Are you willing to say goodbye? Foster care is not a permanent arrangement. It’s easy to become attached, but remember, children will move on someday. Attachment is a good thing, for both you and the child. If the child can attach and trust you, they will be able to do the same with others in their lives and this leads to a healthier future. Saying goodbye does not have to mean for forever. In some cases, with permission from the birth parent or adopted parent, a relationship with your foster children can remain intact after a move.

If you already have children, how do they feel about you fostering a child into your home? You need to consider all members of your family when considering becoming a foster parent. Ask your children how they feel. Also, be aware that your child may learn or pick up whatever the foster child knows, both the good and the bad and vice versa.

If you can say yes to most of these questions, then why not get in touch with us at Viola Fostering Services.

If you have the patience, understanding, a good sense of humour, can be extra vigilant with safety, be open-minded, good at communicating, able to advocate and to learn and be committed to meeting disabled children’s needs, then you have the skills we are looking for.

As a foster parent to a child with a disability, you will be providing specialist care to a child who may have learning difficulties, autism, physical disabilities or medical conditions. Finding a foster carer that meets the needs of a child can sometimes be difficult. For disabled children, the challenge can often be greater. You do not need to choose between fostering children with or without a disability but be open to the idea of any child according to your own skills and experience you can provide.

A specialised and rewarding type of care, this will give you the chance to make a positive impact on a child or young person’s life most in need of assistance. Your home will provide the perfect environment for a child to have everything they need to reach their full potential. Nothing changes with children with disabilities. The targets may be different but the goal to live life to the maximum still stays the same.

Becoming a foster carer for a disabled child can seem quite daunting to begin with, but don’t worry as you will be provided with the support you need in many ways such as a social worker who will have had significant experience of working with disabled children. At Viola Fostering Services, we will provide you with all the advice and help you need, to ensure that both you and your fostered child are comfortable and supported.

There is a growing need for foster carers to look after disabled children. Be willing to give a disabled child a chance, you will learn a lot from it and will reap the rewards. Get in touch with us today at Viola Fostering Services.

There is a need for at least 8,000 new fostering families in the UK over the next year. There is a specific need for foster carers to look after teenagers. Teenagers are a group that many shy away from. Just because teenagers are older children, it doesn’t mean they need any less love, care or attention. When fostering a teenager, you are looking after an older child who has already started to develop some of the important skills that will help in adult life but will still need support, care and assistance as they get closer to adulthood.

As a foster parent of a teenager, you’ll have to fulfil most of the roles a parent usually would. You’ll provide for your teen’s general needs such as making sure they’ve got enough clothes and are healthy and well fed, help them with their education, and listen to them with a consistent, loving family environment. Most fostered teenagers will have had a difficult start to life so may require extra support and stability.

If you already have children, it’s important that they’re prepared for the fostered teenager’s arrival and that they feel they can voice any concerns or issues before or during their stay. You may want to check in on them from time to time to make sure they’re getting on ok. Otherwise, fostered teenagers are mostly like any other teenagers. They can be a handful and may be prone to the occasional bouts of moodiness, but what they really need is the love, stability and support of a good caregiver.

Be aware that it may be a little while before things feel more normal. Some teenagers will be happy to open up quickly, whereas others may need some time. If a teenager has come from a situation where they’ve had to look after themselves, they may seem quite self-sufficient, but it’s also likely they’ll need your support and care. Don’t forget, there’s no shame in needing a little help yourself. Both you and your teenager will have social workers assigned to you. Your fostering agency will be able to provide advice, and there is a helpline you can call if you’re finding things difficult.

The reward and satisfaction you get from fostering when you see that you have made a difference to a teenager’s life is huge. In some instances, this could be the smallest of changes for the child that could change their life. If you would like to find out more about how you could foster a teenager, please get in touch.

Fostering is one of many care options that offers a child a home when they are unable to live with their birth family. Approximately every 20 minutes, another child comes into care needing a foster family. Around three-quarters of children living in care live with foster families. There can be many different reasons as to why children come into care. It could be due to a parent’s short-term illness or a temporary problem that requires the child to have care. Some children have experiences of violence or witnessed drug or alcohol misuse, others have been neglected or abused. Fostering provides these children with a safe and caring family, usually as close to their home and familiar surroundings as possible.

The Difference Between Fostering and Adoption

Adoption and fostering are two common types of long-term arrangement for children and young people. However, they are very different. Adoption provides a new family for children who cannot be brought up by their birth parents. If a child is adopted, they will lose all legal ties with their birth parents and the adopters will be given parental responsibility, whereas with fostering the child can maintain contact with family members and the state holds parental responsibility. Adoption is always considered a permanent arrangement whereas foster care can also be short-term.

Adoption is a process which legally removes the rights and responsibilities of the child's birth parent(s), and transfers them to adoptive parent(s). The child will lose all rights of inheritance from their birth family and will take the surname of their adoptive family.

Fostering does not provide the same legal security for either the foster carers or the child and would usually only continue until the children and young people are 18. However, it means the child can keep their ties with their birth family, who may remain involved in any important decisions being made about their child and would usually be encouraged to have regular contact with their child. When a child is fostered, foster carers will be asked to work in partnership with social workers as well as the child's birth family.

If you are considering fostering, it’s important to understand the different options you can specialise in as a foster carer. Each comes with its own rewards and challenges. You should consider what skills and experience you have, as well as what would suit you and your family best. Your fostering service will also advise you on this and will be able to give you more information about the types of foster care they offer and the people they need.

Are you considering becoming a foster carer? Get in touch with us today.

If you have a spare bedroom and want to change the life of a child, you could make a great foster carer.

Start your journey into fostering by getting in touch with us today!

It’s Foster Care Fortnight 2019 and we at Viola Fostering Services want to thank all foster carers who are looking after thousands of children across the country. Children whose mums and dads, no matter how much they may love them, are not able to look after them. We thank you for your commitment to providing the best possible care for these children.

As a foster carer, you see the strengths and a positive future for each and every child who enters your home. You passionately believe that each child needs someone to be there for them, show them care, support, love, and encourage them to chase their dreams. You give all this and much more, along with comfort, happiness, safety, opportunities and choices.

You open your heart and welcome into your home, children of various ages, who are at different stages of their development. Some whose future is uncertain, who just need guidance and support as they develop and find their way. You can’t undo the pain that a child may have suffered, but you can be part of the healing and provide them a better future. One of happiness, care and love.

Your patience is one of your many strengths, your positive thinking is your lifeline. You share laughter, hugs, warmth and love. You see children grow from being young to older children, they flourish, and you understand that small steps are a huge victory in the right direction. The opportunities you create for children and young people, allow them to hold their head up high, being proud and more confident of who they are.

As we are celebrating Foster Care Fortnight 2019, the theme this year is #changeafuture, we would like to show our appreciation to all the foster carers who do an incredible job of looking after the thousands of children in care and help provide them with a bright future. We would also like to say thank you to those children and young people who live with you and have enriched your lives and changed your futures.

If you would like to show support via social media, then the main two hashtags for Foster Care Fortnight are #changeafuture and #FCF19. If you're not a foster carer already, could you consider becoming one? Contact Us at Viola Fostering Services today.

Foster Care Fortnight is an annual campaign aimed at raising the profile of fostering and to show how foster care can transform lives. Foster Care Fortnight is also the biggest foster care recruitment campaign in the UK. There are over 8,000 new foster families required in the next year to help care for a range of children and young people. The greatest need is for foster carers for older children, disabled children & sibling groups. Foster Care Fortnight is taking place from the 13th to 26th May 2019.

Find Out More About Fostering
Every year, tens of thousands of children across the UK need foster carers while they can’t live with their own families. That means thousands of new foster carers are needed every year. Could you be one of them?

Who Can Become A Foster Carer?
Foster carers can be any gender or sexuality, from any culture or religion. It doesn’t matter if your single, married or living with your partner, your background should not prevent you from becoming a foster carer. Find out more here.

The Impact Foster Carer Can Have
Being a foster carer comes with complexity and breadth, you are being a carer for a child. It’s a complex, professional role and being called a foster carer is a small but significant way of recognising that. Foster carers provide an important role that is unique to a child’s life. Find out more here.

What to Expect Once You've Become A Foster Carer
It’s likely that you will have to wait a while before the first child comes to live with you. You will likely be looking after children who have experienced trauma and require a specialised approach to their care. You might find that the behaviours are more challenging than those of other children you know, so good emotional resilience will be needed.

If you would like to show support via social media, then the main two hashtags for Foster Care Fortnight are #changeafuture and #FCF19. If you're not a foster carer already, could you consider becoming one? Contact Us today.

There must be diversity among the foster care community to meet the needs of children and young people. It’s important to note that applications are welcomed from people that come from all sorts of backgrounds. It doesn’t matter what your marital status is, that also goes for race, sexuality or gender. You can also foster whether you are single, co-habiting, married or divorced.

It’s very important to have a wide range of foster carers available that are from these different backgrounds, have different skill sets, knowledge and general life experience. One of the common myths surrounds the LGBT community and their ability to foster. There were changes to the law in 2006 that allows both foster and adoptive carers in an LGBT couple to appear as legal guardians on adoption and fostering paperwork. This resulted in an increase in LGBT foster carers. All fostering agencies are committed to equal treatment of all prospective foster carers and will positively welcome applications. Your sexual orientation is not important when determining your ability to provide a safe and comfortable home and life to fostering a child.

Each child in foster care can be very different. It’s what you can bring to the role of fostering that will help you to provide a better live for the children who live with you. Another fostering myth surrounds religion and the idea that religion will prevent you from being able to foster. Children will be placed with families that can meet their needs. This too includes religious needs. This doesn’t mean that you need to practice the same religion as the child or does the child have to practice the same religion as you. Although, applicants do need to consider how they would feel if a child was placed with them who didn’t share their religious views and how they would feel about that.

Are you interested in becoming a foster carer and would like more information about how to become a foster carer? Contact us at Viola Fostering Services now and we will help you.

Every 20 minutes a child comes into care in the UK in need of a foster carer to look after them. Sometime this might be for a few days or weeks, other times it could be for a whole childhood.

There can be many different reasons for children entering care such as illness of a parent, abuse or neglect. Regardless of their previous experiences, it is important that these children and young people have the chance to live with a family that can provide them with the love, care and stability they need to thrive and develop as they move from childhood into adulthood.

We currently estimate that there is a need for more than 8,000 new fostering families across the UK over the next year. More specifically, there is an urgent need for foster carers to look after teenagers, sibling groups and young people with additional needs. The majority of children and young people in care are over the age of 10, so most foster carers will be looking after older children and teenagers.

Groups of siblings are frequently placed separately due to there only being a few foster carers having the space required to look after more than one child. Because of this, more foster carers with more than one spare room are also in urgent need to help prevent siblings being separated. In many cases where siblings are kept together, fostering services have had to locate the children outside of their local area in order to find a carer able to accommodate more than one child. It can sometimes be an extra challenge for the children as it takes them away from familiar surroundings, but they get to be with their sibling.

Foster carers with specialist skills are very much in urgent need to help look after children and young people with physical, emotional or learning needs. This helps ensure an easier transition into care for such children. The more foster families there are, the more likely children and young people will find a match which is suited to their needs. Find out more about fostering by getting in touch with us today at Viola Fostering Services.

Being approved as a foster carer can be a very exciting time. It’s normal to feel nervous and have a mixture of emotions prior to your first child or young person arriving into your home. Here are a few tips in preparation for your journey into being a foster carer begins.

Patience is a virtue when it comes to waiting for your first arrival. The process can sometimes take a while, from being approved, to having a young person or child with you. Be patient and the wait will be rewarding as you get to make such a huge impact on a child’s life.

You will feel that you need to be well-prepared, and you do indeed need to be, but it’s not possible to cover every eventuality when you don’t know who will be coming to live with you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, as you’re not going to know everything. There will be times where things don’t go according to plan, but your supervising social worker will be there for you. Everyone wants to see you succeed and it work out very well, so there will be people available to help you along the way if you need it. Take the time before you first child or young person arrives to get to know other local foster carers who will offer you very useful advice.

The list of “what ifs” can be endless but know matter how long you spend thinking about this there will always be something you haven’t thought of. Just enjoy the process and that fact that your first child will soon be on their way to your home. Whilst waiting for your first child, take everything in your stride. There will be highs and lows that will come but no two days are the same.

Enjoy this time and the preparation for your first arrival and we wish you all the best as a foster parent.

Why not read our other blogs on What to Expect Once You’ve Become A Foster Carer or The Importance of A Foster Carer.