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Being a foster carer: The opportunities and challenges

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

A foster carer is someone who takes on the role of a parent for an unspecified period of time. Sometimes, they can be referred to as foster parents. The foster carer will take a young person/child in to their home for maybe a day, a week, a month, a year, or until the child reaches the age of 18.

The opportunities included in being a foster carer include:

  • A feeling of self-satisfaction knowing that they are improving the life/lives of another child/children and supporting them through a difficult period of their lives. •

  • Government benefits are available to carers (foster reward payments and carers’ allowance) to help support both the child/children and themselves during the period of foster care.

  • Foster carers may become an asset to the local community which may improve their self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth due to the essential and worthwhile role of being foster carers.

  • 24-hour support is available for foster carers, if a carer encounters difficulty with a child/children such as running away, difficulties with the police or conflict between the child/children and foster carers are supported through this.

  • Foster care can be a temporary arrangement which means a carer may only have to commit for a short period of time.

However the challenges of being a foster carer are that:

  • The issues concerning the child/children may be very complex and require a lot of work by the carer in supporting the child/children.

  • The child/children will not be with the carer forever and this can be emotionally demanding on the foster carer.

  • The child/children may find it difficult settling in to a new family and so put pressure on the family dynamic in the home.

  • A carer may find it difficult bonding with a new child and this could cause stress for others in the home.

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