So you’ve been approved as a foster carer and you’re about to welcome a child into your home. First of all, congratulations! Foster carers provide an invaluable service and we’re sure this journey will be as fulfilling for you as it will be for your looked after child. You’re going to be a great foster carer just as you are but if you’re feeling a bit unprepared for your first home match, here are a couple of things that might help.
“The fostering team are just a phone call away, even just for a chat or reassurance, they are brilliant.” - Deborah, existing foster carer
You will feel more at ease if the looked after child settles into your home quickly and comfortably. Unless it is an emergency home match, your looked after child will know some information about you, your home and your family so they will know what to expect. They may have already visited you before they move into your home. This should help to make the child feel more comfortable coming to your home but there are a few things you can do to help this process.
Have a conversation with the child or even beforehand, with their social worker about the child’s current routine. Particularly during the first few weeks, if you can offer them their favourite meals, at times they are used to, along with any other appropriate routines such as bath times and bedtimes, this will help the child feel more relaxed in your home and in turn, make it easier for you to build a relationship with them.
Check the information you have been given about your looked after child. Feel free to ask your social worker any additional questions if there is anything you are unclear or uncertain of. If you have children already in your home, take some time to talk with them about how they are feeling about welcoming a new child into your home.
As your looked after child will need their own bedroom in your home. It should be age and gender appropriate but most importantly, comfortable and warm. Do what you can to make it inviting for them with space for them to put their own belongings. It is really important that a looked after child can bring their own belongings into their new home as it will offer them a sense of comfort and familiarity. Thinking about preparing this space may lead to some questions you can ask your social worker; What does the child like to do in their spare time? What is their bedtime routine? If they are a younger child, do they need a blanket or a comforter? What do they prefer to be called?
If the child has a specific hobby or passion, it might be worth considering trying to incorporate this into other areas of your home, not just your bedroom. For example, if they like to draw, you could clear a surface and put out some paper and pens to encourage them to explore their hobby.
As an approved foster carer, we trust that you are a kind, empathetic person who will be able to make the right choices for your looked after child. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what might make you more comfortable in a new environment. This is just the first step of an amazing journey.
Am I ready?
There will be a whole host of training available to you as a foster carer throughout your fostering journey with us. You can read more about our training and support here. The right time to foster is different for everyone. Just like being a parent, there will be ups and downs, but the rewards are priceless. Now you know a little bit more about the support and training is on hand you may want to have an informal chat with one of our team.
Learn more about fostering in Rotherham
If you have any questions about fostering in Rotherham, book a call back with a member of our experienced team at a time that suits you. All our call backs are confidential.