Hello, I thought I would introduce myself before I begin publishing blog posts.
My name is Laura, I’m a foster carer for children with SEND / complex medical needs. My background is teaching children with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities & Sensory learners. Both these roles require organisation, advocacy, support and sign posting. The child currently in our care (affectionately known as ‘Boy Wonder’) is a medical conundrum, we work as part of a huge professional team and continually ensure his needs are put first to give him the best life possible. I am passionate about children being seen as children first, no matter how many diagnosis’ they may have, all children are children.
Fostering carries a different set of responsibilities to biological parenting. First and fore most we do not have Parental Responsibility (PR), we also are very much answerable to Social Workers (SW) and the Local Authority (LA). Fostering is a professional role. With monthly supervisions, a thorough assessment process and many training hours to ensure our skills are up to date.
For the most part we are viewed as a member of the professional team around the child. We are required to put our own views to one side, and advocate for the child. If a decision is made that we don’t necessarily agree with, but it is in the child’s best interests, we must park our views to one side and focus on the outcome for the child.
Sometime fostering children with SEND can be very challenging. Getting the balance right between ‘parenting’ and ‘fostering’ is something which takes time. Good foster carers never lose sight of the fact that the child could be moved at any time (even if on a permanence plan!) if the wider team deems elsewhere to be more appropriate for the child.
It is our choice to carry out the role that we do and be matched to a child/ren which our skill set and lifestyle suits. SEN babies aren’t born matched to their biological parents. Biological parents are required to learn, adapt and advocate along the way. The emotional and psychological challenge is something I could never imagine. I am lucky enough to have met some inspirational biological parents who are doing an amazing job.
The journey of (biological) parenting children with complex needs / SEND is shared across the internet. The knowledge, understanding and experience of foster carers can often go under the radar, as we are ‘just foster carers’.