Becoming a foster parent is not all rainbows and butterflies, it is a wholehearted decision which requires dedication and effort. It is a commitment that you choose and one that helps provide a safe and caring environment for children and young people in our community. As a foster parent there are incredible opportunities presented in so many different forms, however, it is vital you have an insight into what is involved in becoming a foster parent so that you feel totally equipped and prepared for your journey.
What we are going to share with you is all based from personal experiences from one of our exceptional employee’s, Skye Ible, and we know many of you who are looking to foster a child or are in the process currently will be able to relate to Skye’s experiences entirely.
If you are not aware, becoming a foster parent is a lengthy and complex process, but if you are aware of that before going into your application, it will take away the overwhelming feelings of wow, this is a lot to take in. Do not let the complex application haunt you, we have been told that once you find the right organisation that fits right with you, you will have endless support from the agency, and this will impact your fostering experience in a tremendously positive way.
It is helpful you know there are expectations that the agency will require of you when you start your application. You will be asked to attend an initial training – these are normally at night and then at nigh- time you are given workbooks to complete in the comfort of your home. There are also safety checklists you need to complete of your home environment, as well as making the necessary changes if needed. The support workers will visit your home for an assessment, and it is vital you are prepared to talk about everything from throughout your life which entails good and bad from childhood until present. It is super important to go through this assessment period as the agencies need to know if the children are going into a safe and supportive environment, and if you have children of your own or a partner, they will always assess whether your child can handle the fostering of other children.
The foster agency will always ask for at least two references to contact and if you are approved, they will call within 24 hours offering you a child. One piece of advice from talking with our own foster parent is, to be prepared and compile a list of questions ready to talk through with your support person just so you can decide if the child is a suitable match for your family. Do not be afraid to speak up if the placement isn’t working as it is about the foster child’s needs as well as your own, and most of the time there will always be another family out there suited to this child.
During the journey of being a new foster parent, keep in mind that some children crave love and attention but don’t always know how to ask for it. Some children may say ‘ I love you’ or call you ‘mum or dad’ within a few months and some might not feel comfortable letting another person in. All you can do is remind yourself that this child has gone through more than imaginable, and all you can do is open up your hearts and home to show them that they are loved and safe. If you have a strong family unit and strong support system in place, this will help you get through any hick ups that come up along the way.
Whether you are a single person, married, same sex or dating you are eligible to foster a child but remember you must have a spare room in your home to allow for privacy for the child, and everyone must attend a training session as a requirement of being a foster parent. Life is to be lived to the fullest and knowing that a child’s life can be lived to their fullest with another person’s love, devotion and care is nothing short of extraordinary, so we truly commend all the amazing families who do everything in their will to make sure these children are given a second chance at life.
Thank you so much to Skye for sharing such personal and incredible insights with us, you are an inspiration to us all. Every child deserves a chance at a better life.
If you want to find out more about becoming a foster parent within Queensland, please refer to the resources shared with us below.