Why do foster carers quit?
The Social Market Foundation has estimated that the current number of fostering households will decrease by 25,000 by 2026. However, the number of children needing foster care every year is increasing. So, to ensure there are enough fostering households to care for the children who need looking after, we need to do our best to retain the foster carers we have whilst also recruiting as many carers as possible.
Foster carers face many challenges and hurdles when they decide to apply to become foster carers, and some of these challenges can remain once they have been approved to be foster carers. At Fitzgerald Fostering we are here to support carers to meet these challenges and though tit would be helpful to look at some of these hurdles and what we do to address them.
A lack of support and guidance
If families are not supported with their role as foster carers, it can be difficult to maintain their commitment to a child in their carer, and ultimately continuing to be a foster carer. This can happen when managing children’s differing needs, especially if a child has complex emotional and behavioral needs. The support foster carers receive in these sensitive situations can be critical. If carers do not have immediate access to professional support and guidance when dealing with a difficult situation it can become even more challenging. Being a foster carer will always present challenges but with the right support it can be hugely rewarding as well.
At Fitzgerald Fostering we pride ourselves on the level of support we offer all our carers. We have social workers available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for our foster carers to talk to. We feel that no issue or problem is too small and encourage our carers to callus whenever they have a question or are uncertain about something, or just need to talk. We are reliable, available, and committed to supporting our carers so they can be committed to the children they look after.
Insufficient training to address child’s needs
If foster carers do not have access to resources and training that helps them understand the needs of the children, they are looking after they can feel overwhelmed. At Fitzgerald Fostering we recognize the importance of both training and therapeutically informed support for all our carers. We offer a comprehensive training programme with regular training days and evenings on specific topics or issues. From First Aid training to child development and attachment theory we cover everything with our carers.
Alongside this we also run monthly peer support groups for our foster carers that are facilitated by our psychotherapist and offer an opportunity to explore all the facets of what it means to be a foster carer. These run during the day and in the evening so that every carer whether working or not can attend.
Financial instability or difficulties
In the current economic climate, everyone is worried about the increasing cost of living. At Fitzgerald Fostering we recognise that if people are worried about their income they may feel that they cannot continue to be foster carers. With this in mind we ensure all our foster carers are well rewarded financially for al the children they care for. In conjunction with our comprehensive package of support our carers receive a weekly rate that is designed to cover the cost of caring for a child and provide a professional fee to the foster carer.
Children being placed that do not match the foster carers household
When deciding to place a child with foster carers there are many factors that need to be considered. This process is called ‘matching’. To do this effectively a fostering agency needs to consider the needs of the child and the skills, experience, and make-up of the fostering household. If these ‘matches’ are inappropriate it means that placements will not work for either the children and young people or the foster carers family. Over time this can lead to foster carer becoming disillusioned with their role and deciding to stop fostering.
Fitzgerald Fostering understands that this process is key to ensuring successful fostering placements. In every case we will provide our carers with as much information as possible about a child before the decision is made to place them with foster carers. In all cases the foster carers will have the final say in whether or not they feel a child is a good match for their household or not. Foster carers will never be directed to take placements, and will always feel completely involved in the decision making process.
Fostering is hard work! Fostering can take an emotional toll on people, even the most dedicated and committed carers can sometimes feel overwhelmed. We acknowledge at times carers feel like they cannot cope and sometimes think that there must be a better way of meeting the children’s needs. This feeling often arises from sudden changes in their life such as bereavement, divorce or illness, which can all contribute to overwhelming feelings about whether someone is able to continue as a foster carer. This is where the support offered by a fostering agency can be key. As already mentioned Fitzgerald Fostering provides excellent levels of support and we are focused on being there for you so you can be there for the children you look after. Whatever the challenge we can help our experienced staff, therapeutic support and monthly support groups all help carers cope with any challenge that comes their way whether fostering related or not. This support helps create resilient carers who provide excellent care to the children placed with them, which in turn means fostering is a rewarding experience for our foster carers and most importantly the children they look after.
We hope that this article has been helpful and provided some insight into the challenges foster carers can face, but also the ways we can help you overcome them. If you have any queries about the fostering support we offer, feel free to give us a call on 01753 550031 or Contact us
DateFebruary 6, 2023