Could you be a foster carer?

Qadar Arif reports on the important role foster parents have in Waltham Forest

The sad truth is that many children in Waltham Forest experience severe neglect. The decision to remove a child from their home is not taken easily. There is a vast legal framework involved and ultimately the courts have the final say in what will happen.

Fostering gives a child a safe place to grow up and many children go back home when the time is right. An in-depth assessment determines whether someone has what it takes to foster a child in need. A person’s lifestyle and their home environment are taken into account as the home must be safe enough for a child.

“We’re not looking for a perfect home,” say social workers from Waltham Forest Council. “A foster carer’s home needs to have space for a child to play, study and most importantly to feel comfortable in.”

Foster carers can receive up to £423 per week. This covers all aspects of a child’s care including food, clothing, telephone and travel. David Fry, manager of the Fostering Service explains that Waltham Forest is a very diverse borough.

“We try to place children in similar cultures to their own to lessen the impact of change,” but he adds: “The most important thing we look for are foster carers with empathy and warmth.’’

When someone is interested in becoming a foster carer they attend a foster care training programme. Foster care training is a two way process to find out if fostering is for you. It involves learning about why children come into care and the difficult feelings they may have as a result of neglect and trauma.

The course also includes learning about child development, legislation, and health and safety.

I’d say to anyone thinking about fostering a child – go for it. All you need is a nice warm heart and to be a nice kind person who does not get angry too quick. We don’t want people to feel sorry for us – we just need a safe, kind family to be a part of.

– 15 year-old boy who has been with foster parents since the age of seven

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