First-time Foster carer? Need Some Tips? We’re Here to Help.
Being a first-time foster carer is exciting, but it can also bring with it plenty of anxiety and stress. Don’t worry – this is completely normal. You may find yourself asking a lot of questions, and you may find it difficult to get useful answers.
That’s where we come in. Orchard Fostering are here to help you on your journey through foster care. We know it can be tough to be a first-time foster carer, and so we’d like to share some advice for those of you just starting out on this fulfilling, life-changing journey.
- Don’t Panic!
Let’s get our best piece of advice out of the way up top – don’t panic. You’ve got this! You’re a foster carer, and you’re going to be great. You’ve taken all the necessary steps to get here, and now you’re on the precipice of a great adventure – and we’re here to help.
- Training is Essential
If you’re a first-time foster carer, you’ve probably experienced the rush of a great training programme. You learn all the tricks and techniques, and you’re ready for anything! Training programmes (like ours) help you lay the foundations for a great foster care experience.
That’s the thing about foundations, however – they’re designed to be built upon. As you enter the world of foster care, you’ll experience things for which you think you’re not prepared. In these situations, it pays to take a second (and a breath) and reflect on the basics of your training. The answer will be there, and you’ll add another layer to your foundations.
- Find a Support System – and stick with it
We all need someone to listen sometimes – and first-time foster carers need that support more often than most! If you’re feeling worried or stressed, it’s always good to have people around you who care for you and who understand your situation.
Support systems come in many guises – they can be comprised of friends, family members, or your assigned Link Worker. Gathering a group around yourself to help and support you is essential – you’ll lean on these people throughout your time in fostering but most particularly in your first couple of months.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
There is no such thing as a stupid question – and yet many of us find ourselves afraid to put up our hand and say “I don’t get it.”
No matter the situation you’re in, someone else will always have dealt with it before you when they were a first-time foster carer – and they will have figured it out (likely through asking the question themselves!). Reaching out to someone with experience in the field will always yield great results.
At Orchard Fostering, we provide a 24/7/365 call service for our carers – so no matter the time of day, you can get in touch with us and we’ll help answer your question.
- Never forget why you do it
Fostering a child for the first time is a great thing to do – but it is also hard work. You will have doubts, you will have worries, you will have days when you don’t want to do it anymore. And that’s completely fine – we all get frustrated and fed up.
Our final piece of advice, then, may be our most important – never forget why you decided to do this.
If you’re anything like us, you have a dedication and passion for child welfare. You want to provide and care for children who need your assistance and attention. You want to foster children and create a harmonious and loving environment for kids who need it right now.
The person who decided to do these things is still you – even when you’re ready to throw in the towel. If you’re ever questioning why you’re here, just remember – you’re here because you want to be, and that’s more than reason enough.
We hope our advice has helped you out – if you still have questions, or you’re still worried about some aspects of foster care, please reach out to us. You can always give us a call or drop us a mail. Let’s start building a brighter future today.