Every looked after child has a huge network of people involved in their lives.
This includes, but is not limited to, their foster carers and family, their birth family, social workers, teachers and friends. Every one of these relationships is important and impacts the foster child’s life in some way. For most families, the Christmas period is a time for fun and socialising, and spending time with friends and family. It is particularly important for looked after children to sustain relationships with the people that they care about.
“The best thing about fostering is knowing that we are helping the children and in many cases their families too.” -Denise & John, existing foster carers
One of the key responsibilities of a foster carer is to help your looked after child maintain these relationships where appropriate. This is key because looked after children tend to have more short term relationships and fewer long term relationships than most people might have. It can be difficult to explain to a looked after child why they may not be able to see their birth family, but your fostering team and peer support network are always there to help you through these tricky conversations.
Most looked after children will have some family time with their birth family if their social worker thinks it is suitable and appropriate. Research highlights the importance of children in care being able to sustain positive relationships with their birth families to help them maintain their sense of identity and belonging. A foster carer’s role in this family time can be key to keeping it positive and successful. By being open and supportive, helping your looked after child through this time will only strengthen your bond and help confirm to the child that you have their best interests at heart.
Remember, family time isn’t always face-to-face and sometimes letters, phone calls and emails can be just as important to maintaining their family relationships. You can also support this relationship with keepsakes such as photos of the child’s families and treasured items from home if they have them.
While contact may be a challenging time for you as a foster carer, it is important to remember that the emphasis is always on what is best for the child. Family time will always be discussed with you and your social worker before it happens and will be built into the child’s care plan in a way that works for everybody. We are really proud of the support our team gives our amazing foster carers, foster children and their families.
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.