I'd love to foster...but I couldn't let them go...
Find out how we help support foster carers to help prepare children and young people to move on
When foster children move on...
Fostering can sometimes provide children with a permanent home, but most foster placements come to an end when children move on for a number of reasons; often back to their families where support has been taking place to allow this to happen, sometimes onto another, long term foster placement, or to an adoptive home where adoptive parents are awaiting their arrival. If they are old enough it can be that foster carers are preparing young people to move on to live independently.
The fostering team have heard this said so many times:
“I don't know if I could look after a child or children knowing I will have to let them go”
It’s totally understandable that this is a big consideration for people making their first steps towards fostering. Taking a child into your home, caring for them day and night and acting in a parenting role is a huge responsibility and it would be unusual not to be worried about how you would feel about letting them go when you are very likely to feel some form of attachment to them. How can you handle letting a child move on? It can be difficult, there’s no question about it. But ask a foster carer how they manage these conflicting emotions of loving and letting go and they will tell you it’s how the child feels, and what is the best decision for their future that is by far the most important. It is knowing that you are doing what is best for children that brings people into fostering.
“They’ve experienced love, safety and a positive nurturing environment which otherwise they may not have experienced.”
“Seeing a foster child move forward with confidence and purpose can only mean that you have done your job well.”
Saying goodbye can often be difficult, and may be especially difficult for you, the child or children moving on, and the rest of your family. You are all likely to feel a range of challenging emotions, even when, as is most often the case, the move is a very positive one for the child or children. Moving children on can be a difficult and emotional time for the whole family, and having a good support network around is vital. There are mixed emotions, such as sadness and a feeling of loss at seeing children leave, but that’s combined with a feeling of happiness and achievement that their lives are moving forward, and you have been an integral part in that.
Who supports the children?
Children receive support about moving on and will have had their social workers explain to them in the most age appropriate way, what is happening and why. Foster carers, as fellow professionals in what is often called in Coventry 'the team around the child' are also key in helping children to understand the situation, previous life events and decisions that have been made about their future.
“You can feel grief when they leave. That’s natural. But there are other children in care who need a loving home. I read something that said ‘the next child you foster isn’t a replacement, the next child adds’. That has a poignancy to it.”
Foster children most often move on. But that doesn’t always mean it’s the end of their relationship with you.
“Saying goodbye doesn’t always mean the end and I’m still in contact with many children I’ve fostered who have grown up and gone on to have their own children".
The fostering team at Coventry City Council offer 24/7 support and help as well as other opportunities for carers to ask for advice and link up with other foster carers to share experiences. Part of the training for foster carers deals with developing coping mechanisms for when foster children move on and there is specific training for moving children onto adoption.
“When I moved on my first child to adoption, my foster caring friend and social worker helped me through the challenge of letting go. Being part of a team of foster carers’ means you can chat through the challenges and celebrate the successes when a child is able to cope with something for the first time, or develops a new skill or confidence- they understand and can share that joy.”
So, why foster?
Our foster carers say that the rewards of fostering far outweigh the challenges and emotional rollercoaster.
“Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? No question at all.”
“You know that you are making such a big difference to this child’s life- and not just their life, but the life of their future children, and their children too- breaking the cycle of neglect’
You can make the difference, and we are here to help you every step of the way...
Coventry City Council need more foster carers who can help us to care for Coventry children who, for whatever reason, are unable to live with their birth family.
The work carried out by Coventry foster carers means the children in our care can get the support they need and live in a safe, positive and nurturing environment. .
The Coventry City Council Fostering Team are here to help you every step of way on your fostering journey. Support, training and development are all part of the fostering package. Supervising social workers are there to support you. They are a 'one stop shop' for advice on anything from practical issues and training to 'being an ear' to listen to any challenges or joys that fostering has brought to the family.
Find out more…
If you are interested in joining our growing fostering community, or to find out more about fostering for Coventry City Council please call the team on 024 7683 2828 or complete our short form and we'll call you back.
Find out more about fostering, meet ‘real life’ foster carers and find out what it’s like to be a foster carer at one of our meet the fostering team events: