Fostering is women’s work, right? What can men bring to it?
It’s true that fostering continues to be a largely female dominated arena but at EFS we believe men should not be overlooked and indeed should be encouraged to take a greater role.
In his video Tony Jones explains that whilst the division of roles between the genders has changed greatly over the last few decades, the decision to foster tends to be driven by women. Tony cites a lack of understanding of what we look for in male carers as one possible reason.
At EFS we have some fantastic male carers who act as the main carer or who share the care equally with their partners. So what makes them good carers?
Mike is in his 40s. 5 years ago, he and his wife, Lisa and started fostering 2 children. Mike was always heavily involved in the fostering but when his wife went back to work, he took over the role of full time carer.
“I absolutely love fostering,” says Mike. “And I’ve really enjoyed the transition to main carer. I get so much satisfaction from being that constant presence in the children’s lives.”
When asked what qualities a male foster carer needs, Mike says, “The qualities a foster carer needs are not gender specific. Whether male or female, you need to be warm, you need to be consistent, you need to be resillient. You need to be empathetic and a good listener. These aren’t superhero qualities, just ordinary values.”
The children Mike and Lisa foster did not have any positive male role model in their lives before they came to live there. The importance of modelling what men can and should be like is not to be underestimated: being there day in day out, talking, listening, putting boundaries in place, creating a safe place to be in and perhaps most importantly sticking around when the going gets tough. These are the things our carers bring to the table and these are the things that make for positive experiences of fostering for the children and change the adult they’ll become.
Whether you’re a man or a woman and feel that you might have what it takes to make the difference in a child’s life, please get in touch. You can call us on 01206 299775 or drop into one of our coffee mornings.
Tuesday 14th November 11:30am at the Huntingdon Marriot hotel in Cambridgeshire.
Thursday 24th November 10:30am at our head office in East Bergholt.
Please click here for more details.
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"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.