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  1. #1
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    Default Foster Care

    I was wondering whether anyone has been a foster parent before?

    My DH and I are very soon going to be in a position to allow me the financial freedom to not have to be in paid employment, and I am beginning to assess what I would like to do with this opportunity.

    At first I considered study, but the more I think about it, the more that decision seems selfish. I want to do something that benefits the community - not just me.

    I have thought about foster care on and off for years, but have never been in a position to do it full time. I think it is something I would be able to add real value to.

    Im conscious of the timing of the decision, as DH and I have very recently given up on our hopes of having a child of our own. I don't want to try to make a foster child fill the hole in our lives. I am fairly certain that isn't the case, but it's something to consider nonetheless.

    Now I'm rambling. My question is, if any hubbers have fostered before, what's it like? Do they give you training? How do you handle the child returning to their birth family? What is the process of becoming a carer like?

    Ta!

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to Shoopuf For This Useful Post:

    MuminMind  (22-06-2012)

  3. #2
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    I have!

    We did it before we had our own children and it's not something I will do while we are raising young children. I think you're in an ideal situation to do it.

    We were given initial training and ongoing support and training. It took about 2 months of paperwork and attending courses (your DH will have to too, but they often have weekend or evening options).

    We dealt primarily with high behavioural needs. None of the kids we had returned to their families, but my MIL had 4 kids under 6 who were removed from a DV situation and after a year were reunified with their father. It was a beautiful moment and a memory I will always cherish. Occasionally the system works.

    They prefer not to allow placements to go beyond 2 years, as the child becomes too comfortable. This is something I really struggle with, it's a double edged sword. You can get long term placements, but it's not common.

    We mainly did respite and emergency care (which will be how they start you off usually), but had a few longer term placements.

    If you have any questions feel free to ask.

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    MuminMind  (22-06-2012)

  5. #3
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    I used to do some temp work for the childrens welfare assoc in vic. All the 1800 foster care calls came to that office. We basically just took the details and handed them on to agencies like Anglicare, there were many more but I have forgotten. They would then contact you if you were deemed suitable and it would be taken from there.

    I think its a very selfless thing to do and good luck with your experience in it.

  6. #4
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    I used to work at an agency that placed foster children and recruited and supported foster carers. This was in Queensland so not sure how different all states are..

    Potential carers are interviewed (very in depth and will look at all aspects of you and your partners lives). Training is provided (and you also have to complete a certain number of hours each year once you are approved carers). A home study is also completed to make sure your home is safe for children and you have adequate space etc.

    You can stipulate what age, how many children, whether you want to do respite, emergency, long term or short term placements. You will also be able to state whether you are willing to take children with disabilities, high support needs etc.

    How long children are with you will vary. All depends what type of order they are on under child safety. They may initially come under a short term order while parents are investigated but this may then extend to something more long term. Or they may find a relative that the child can go to.

    You may need to drive children to contact with their parents, medical appointments, meetings at child safety, school activities. Sometimes child safety helps out but often it is left to the carer.

    Many foster children come to you with complex issues. You will learn about this in training but often it can be confronting. I worked in a res house with children under care of child safety and was bitten, spat on, threatened, hit & sworn at. This was by a 7 year old girl. She was extremely traumatised and had suffered every type of abuse you can imagine. This was an extreme case but I think it's better for potential carers to realise what they may come up against.

    I know many of the foster carers I supported found it difficult when children were returned home. Especially when they believed that it shouldn't happen.

    It can be a thankless job but can also be extremely rewarding as you watch the children in your care blossom and grow. One great day will outweigh the 5 bad ones before it. I remember how happy I was when one of the children I was caring for started saying please and thank you! And another time I took a child on their first ever trip to the beach...the happy expression on their face was one I'll never forget.

    Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

  7. #5
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    Sorry I know you asked for people who have done it but I wanted to post because I have always wanted to foster too.

    And even today I looked into here in NZ. I emailed my husband to test the waters with him and he said "do you want to do it" and I said I think we "should".

    I feel the need to do something for kids/community around me also.

    I know a beautiful couple in Australia who have fostered one wee boy on and off since not long after he was born, he kept getting returned the the mother now he is back with them permantently.

    I think if you can do it you will never regret it. It won't be easy but it is definitely worth it. If you can change the life of one person for the better I think yours is one worth living.

  8. #6
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    Just subscribing. I haven't and am not currently in the position to do it, but I have always wanted to look into doing it at some point in the future.

  9. #7
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    We foster We aren't through the department for child protection though. We foster through a private agency and I must say we like it much more than when we fostered through DCP.

    Initially we went to an info session and filled out some forms including 6 references. Then we had a lot of interviews and home visits (maybe 6), including checking out our dogs. (had a child come over an interact with them) We had 2 all day training sesssions with DCP and were given a big file of info.

    We got to choose our ideal age group, placement length and girl or boy.

    We do long term care and have had our current child for 2 years next month. It is difficult.. there is a lot of red tape. We are taking her overseas for Christmas and it took my upwards of 20 phone calls and numerous emails over 9 months to get permission. We also have to content with her birthmother who frequently tries to get her back.

    We have to drive her to some appointments (counsellor, tutor) but she has a driver for contact visits. We also arrange other visits with her sister and brother and her aunty.

    We began fostering because we weren't ready for our own kids, had the space in our home and wanted to help out. I love fostering and would recommend it but it is a extremely hard thing to do.

    PM me if you have any more questions


 

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