Many people tell us that they’ve been put off fostering because they don’t believe they can specify the type of child they’d like to foster or decline to accept a child they don’t feel is a good match.
At Eastern Fostering Services we passionately believe that good matching is one of the key factors in ensuring that foster placements are secure, stable and successful for both the children and the carers.
When you apply to foster, one of the first questions we ask you is what age/gender/needs child you feel would suit you and your family. You are not committed to the answer you give at this time but when answering, we would suggest you think about your skills, experience, work situation and family set up. We’d also say, keep an open mind. Many people change how they feel as they learn more about fostering and its diversity.
One of our carers, Tina always felt that she would want to foster very young children. She maintained this view throughout the assessment process and through the Skills to Foster training. In fact, the first child she looked after was a 5 year old boy. Over time, Tina began to wonder whether she might be able to offer something of value to teenagers. She had successfully brought 2 children of her own to adulthood and she felt that she understood the challenges facing this age group.
We listened to Tina and started to send her details of children who we felt might fit well into her family and vice versa. After a short while, she began to foster a 14 year old girl and she hasn’t looked back since!
“Whilst I enjoyed fostering younger children, I really feel that I have come into my own with the older children and young people. They are at a stage of their life when the right support can really make a huge difference to their future.”
Another commonly held misconception is that once you’ve decided on the age/gender/needs of the child you want to look after, you have to accept the child you are offered. This is categorically not the case. After careful consideration as to whether we feel the child and carer will be a good match, we send whatever information we have about the child to the carer. At this point that carer can express an interest and has the opportunity to ask questions about the child that may not have been answered in the information the Local Authority has sent us. Once the carers feel able to make a decision, they can say yes or no. If it’s a yes, the carer’s details will be sent to the Local Authority to make a decision.
A good fostering service will never try and coerce a carer into accepting a child whom they do not feel able to accept. Neither will they knowingly place a child who is deemed an ill match for the carer’s skillset, family set up and practical requirements. This may mean that the process of placing a child takes longer but we believe it does ensure more successful fostering experiences for child and carer alike.
Don’t forget if you have any fostering questions for us you can message us on Facebook or call us on 01206 299775, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or come and see us at one of our information events.
Tuesday 14th November 11:30am at the Huntingdon Marriot hotel in Cambridgeshire.
Thursday 24th November 10:30am at our head office in East Bergholt.
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Why EFS? At EFS, we believe we have something special. We’re a small, close knit team and we really (really!) care about what we do. We suppose most foster agencies say that, so here are the things we do that show we’re different. Read more...
Like any family, we're a hotchpotch but all united in one thing: our passion for the children and carers we place them with. Read more...
We know that there are a whole host of things that could be stopping you from making that commitment to fostering. But you may be surprised by what we’ve got to say on the subject. Read more...
"If I’m struggling with a situation, EFS are always there to help me think more creatively."
Lucy Stevens fostering radio series episode one
Cameron – Cameron shows us fostering through the eyes of the child.
Lucy Stevens fostering radio series episode three
Tricia – Tricia explains the impact of multiple moves on children in foster care.
Lucy Stevens fostering radio series episode four
Eleanor – Eleanor introduces the subject of unaccompanied asylum seeking children coming into foster care.