There are countless reasons why children have to live away from their birth family. It is not a happy situation for the parents or the child but there is no choice left for them. In some cases, the court will decide that the child should be placed outside of the birth family for the best welfare and wellbeing of the child. There are also cases where the birth parents are not able to look after the child and they have to place the child in care. Fostering can be a short term solution or a long term solution. There are long term placements in foster care which are more like a permanent option for children and young people. The long term placement happens where the carers commit to looking after the child until they reach an age where they can manage to live on their own.
Adoption and fostering
There is a difference between adoption and permanent fostering. When there is a situation where the child cannot live with their family and the government believes that the child should be removed from the birth family, they will send the child into a foster care. The social workers will help the child find the right home for fostering and the length of time will vary. It can range from a few weeks to years and it could also lead to permanent fostering. The idea behind fostering is to unite the child with the birth family whenever it is safe to do so. Incase it is not possible to unite the child with biological parents, they will be placed into foster care on a permanent basis. A lot of carers gain personally through the process of fostering. In contrast, adoption is a permanent solution where the parent will take all the legal responsibilities of the child who is not biologically related to them. The responsibility of the child will be of the adoptive parents and not of the biological parents. This is on a permanent basis.
Permanent fostering is a long term engagement for the upbringing of the child and it provides a framework for the social work with the children and the families through adoption. He children that come to foster care cannot live with their parents and the court looks for a solution to give them a safe and loving environment. They ensure that the child is sent to a loving family and has a stable childhood. Permanence agreements include early permanent which allows the adopters a chance to parent the child during the early months of their lives. If you want to know more about fostering, read this article from Perpetual Fostering, it will help understand your responsibility as a foster carer.
Long term foster care placements
If it is not possible for a child or a young individual to live with their parents, the government will look for the best option for them and this could sometimes be adoption. It could be due to their age or due to circumstances out of their control. Some children are also placed with their siblings or they are allowed to have contact with their siblings who are placed elsewhere. Adoption will only come into action when it is decided that the child will not be safe with the biological parents or it is not possible for the child to live with the biological parents. There might be a permanent foster care for them and they will be looked after until they are adults.
Benefits for children
There are numerous benefits of permanent foster care. It gives a sense of belonging to the child and many have found stability and care through the process. Through a long term foster care placement, the children can enjoy a stable and secure childhood with a family that supports them through the growing up years and beyond. The child feels a sense of identity, belonging and security with the family.
Before making a decision about long term foster placement, the agency will look into the ability of the carer to meet the needs of the child in the present and the future. The child’s wishes and feelings are considered in order to promote the welfare of the child through a permanent solution. There have also been circumstances where the child remained with the foster carer post 18 years and there are many schemes which are placed in support of this.
There is no age, educational qualification or experience which is required for you to become a foster parent. You could be single or married, there is nothing stopping you from becoming a foster parent. If you are keen on fostering and want to look after a child, you should contact a social worker at the earliest. There is an entire procedure in place which will take about four to six weeks to access if you have the ability to look after a child. You are free to ask as many questions as you want to and share your personal experiences with the social worker. You will also be provided with a monetary compensation for looking after the child but most importantly, you need to have a big heart full of love and compassion for the child.
Fostering is not a 9 to 5 job, it is one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences you can ever have. If you do not know how to go about being a foster carer, you can contact the agency and understand how fostering works. You can then have a short term fostering arrangement and see how it goes. With time and experience, you will be ready for a long term fostering arrangement in your home. Ensure that you give unconditional love and security to the child. You will play a huge role in their life and you will be responsible for their happiness and their future. Ensure that you are physically and mentally prepared for fostering because it is not an easy path.