Saturday, March 31, 2018


Even after many happy years in fostering, putting yourself forward to take a new child has its minor headaches.

By no stretch of the imagination are they the headaches of migraine proportions, just the small dull throb you get at the back of the eye-sockets first thing some mornings which either disappear or you stop noticing after your first cup of tea.

Sorry to be pedantic about headaches, Arctic circle-dwellers* are said to talk of 27 different types of snow, women like us know of 127 types of headache.

The first thing you have to get straight is the matter of what sort of child would fit for your family. A difficult one to assess, but re-assuring that it's always given consideration. We try to say yes to any child, We said yes to 3 Afghan brothers who had no English and needed a prayer room and a halal diet. We said yes to a boy who had (accidentally) allegedly been responsible for the death of another youth.

If you're a start-up in fostering don't get alarmed, placements like the above are extremes and far from the norm,. They were only offered to us because Blue Sky had, over a period of years, developed an understanding of our flexibility and our resilience.

Generally one's reservations don't become a factor, because Blue Sky and local authorities do their level best to find a foster home in which the child and the family will feel comfortable with each other.

This is no mean achievement.  Even if you hope for the Von Trapp children from Sound Of Music, never forget that the eldest daughter was seeing a Nazi...there are very few out-and-out angels out there.

Age is a big thing to consider. For example if I had a very young family of my own, or a young foster child who had settled in, I would give plenty of thought if asked to take a child several years older than them. It could be an arrangement that might work really well, but it could also confuse the younger ones as their place in the family dynamic might change and not suit them. Your social worker is going to be well ahead of you on this one, I know age differences  something they're hot on.

By the way, the process of referring a child to a new foster home isn't a matter for the Placement Team working solo; they liaise with your social worker so the process of working out a fit has begun even before your phone rings.

I guess the truth behind me finding the business of getting a good match a bit of a headache is that, like a lot of carers I know, my heart wants to say yes to all of them...

That said, the job is always to get the child ready to return to their real family, and the more smoothly the child fits into your home the easier for them to gather their wits.

I'm looking forward to telling my SW in three days that we're ready for a new placement. She may well email the Placement Team immediately, and that might result in an offer in  no time at all. A school holiday began a couple of days ago and that often means a flurry of need for foster homes.

When all is said and done; it's the most exhilarating feeling that's welling up in me, I recommend it to everyone and anyone who has the wherewithal to foster.

Here we go!

* I'm lost on what name to give the indigenous inhabitants of the northern ice wastes. I got an earful years ago from a man in a park when he overheard me use the word "Eskimo", mansplaining to me they are "Innuit". Then I recently heard someone on the radio saying that Innuit was wrong too. 


  1. Anon here who asked about LGBT carers the other week. Just an update - I'm getting nearer to the waiting game, slowly. I've gone through all my checks and begin my training course next week. Cant wait. Still have to have my final house inspection too, but that shouldnt be a problem, and a few other things besides. My family is getting excited too, even though I'm just doing respite and not full time. I have a large family and they all want to donate toys, books, games etc. My spare room is feeling a lot like a kids' room now than a 'warehouse' like it used to be. Excited, I am.

  2. Thanks for the update Anon. Thinking of you a lot; sharing shades of your excitement.
    I remember our first house inspection; interesting. We were asked to fix a metal grid over our little garden water feature - a wooden half-barrel with a few lilies - because, since it had a goldfish in it, it qualified as a "pond".
    But nothing to be nervous about, the inspectors are all cheery types and they're on our side, and the children's.
    Enjoy the build-up.
    Keep us posted.

  3. Hi there,

    I have been looking into fostering for a few weeks now and am increasingly encouraged to go ahead with it. However, i am concerned about the irregularity of the income as i would want to give up work (at least full time) to do the best job i can. Although i have all school holidays off at the moment it would concern me that if i gave up work to be a full-time foster parent we would suffer financially. Do you have any advise about how often placements come up and if it can be considered a regular income if i do give up work?

    Any information is really appreciated.


  4. Hi. Thanks for getting in touch. I'd be better able to give you specific advice if you could give me a couple of bits of information about your circumstance. Main question is how many spare rooms do you have, what sort of (approximate) income you receive from the existing employment, what field you work in and what sort of flexibility your employers might extend to hours and shifts etc.
    You'll remain anonymous, of course, and I'll quite understand if you'd rather not give the information but a tailored response may help you (and others) get a better understanding of how fostering can bend to meet everyone's needs.