Therapeutic foster carers step into a role with high expectations. While all branches of foster care require dedication and hard work, therapeutic settings require an even greater levels of knowledge and skills, all of which will be provided by your fostering provider. There will be varying needs to take care of and a range of advanced skills to embrace as well. These tips are here to help.
Remember You Are Part of a Team
When you become a carer of this nature, you are never on your own. Being an island is not the way forward when it comes to protecting and advocating for young people. That is why you will have a solid team around you which may include a social worker from your agency like ISP Fostering, a mentor, and an appropriate lead therapist for the child in your home. This team can be seen as both scaffolding and a foundation to build a young person’s life up to where it deserves to be. Lean on the support on offer and work collaboratively to reach the best outcomes.
Start Each Day with a Fresh Head
The main thing to absorb when looking after children in a therapeutic placement is that each day is a new one, and should be treated as such. Every morning is a fresh start and there is no real way to predict what the day might hold. Foster carers need to embrace this ethos wholeheartedly in order to maximise the atmosphere for the children in their home. Work hard to let go of disputes and not hold onto conflict from the past, because your foster child needs you to show up without fail. This is what makes a successful environment.
Be Present in the Team
A major part of your role will be to discuss progress with the wider team. This means there will be regular meetings and discussions about strategies and ways to move forward. It is your job to show up and represent the best interests from your unique perspective. As the person who lives with the child and takes the lead on all of their primary care needs, you will be able to advocate in the most authentic way. This insight and opinion will always be valued throughout these discussions and taken on board to shape the future in the best possible way. So, it is important, therefore, to show up fully and completely engaged.
Show Up at Home as Well
It is equally important to show up in the home environment too. This means listening when a child reaches out and establishing a reliable routine for them to lean into with you. These two things as standalone concepts are incredibly powerful notions when it comes to providing authentic support for a child who really needs it. You will need to show up every day at any moment where you are needed. There are great systems in place to give you a break so that this level of commitment doesn’t lead to burnout too, so make sure you always use your respite care nights wisely.
Therapeutic carers have a major impact on the lives of the children they look after. This role is a pivotal one and will always require a different perspective.