Fostering children with disabilities

The blog has been contributed by Tahir Khan, the director of fostering organisation, Perpetual Fostering. Here he talks about fostering children with disabilities.  

By Tahir Khan Although there is no definitive statistic to suggest the exact number of children and young people in foster care with an acquired brain injury, it is an estimated ¼ of all children currently placed in foster care have a disability. You may not be aware of it, but the number of children and young people entering the foster care system is constantly increasing. It was recently confirmed by the UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network, that around 9,000 extra foster carers are needed in 2016 to provide care to both disabled and non-disabled children.

What is fostering?

For whatever reason, some children and young people don’t have the opportunity to live with their own parents, so they require the care and support of loving foster parents. It’s important to remember that fostering is different to raising your own children, as there are many different types of foster placement available to you. Generally speaking, most foster placements range from short to long-term periods, however, there are also respite, emergency and even specialist parent and child options that are worth considering as well. Respite foster care is a short-term foster placement designed to support families who require small breaks from time to time. Quite often, those families would be caring for a child who is disabled or requires specialist care. There is also a wide range of long-term foster placements available to foster carers who wish to provide longer-term support to a child or young person. Longer term placements do offer foster parents a chance to care for a child who is suffering from a disability or injury i.e. autism, physical disabilities, brain injuries or other learning difficulties.

Providing foster care to a child with disabilities

Regardless of whether you’re wishing to provide care and support to a child or young person who has a form of disability or not, it’s worth remembering that fostering is a challenging, yet remarkable and rewarding experience from the moment you take your first steps on your journey as a foster carer. You now have the chance to supply love, care and comfort to some of society’s most vulnerable and in need children and young people. As a foster parent you’ll play a decisive role in providing a level of care that will meet their needs. The environment you offer will be safe, supportive and encouraging that allows a child to achieve their potential, try new activities and develop positive relationships.

Requirements to become a foster carer

The good news about becoming a foster carer is that there are actually very few barriers that would stand in the way of someone applying. All we ask is that you’re over 21 years old, have a spare bedroom, be financially stable and a good grasp of english. For anybody looking to foster a child with a disability or injury, you don’t actually need to have any previous experience of working or caring for someone with a disability. However, it is important that you have a particular interest in caring for a disabled child or young person, as well as a willingness to learn about their specific condition in much more depth. At Perpetual Fostering, we classify a child or young person requiring additional support as being in need of an extra bit of love, care and affection.

Training, support and rewards

From the moment you begin your fostering journey, you’ll be offered the highest level of training, mentoring and support from our team of experienced social workers. For anyone wishing to foster child or young person with disabilities or special requirements, additional training will also be provided, alongside access to specialist equipment, an enhanced fostering allowance and even assistance with transportation. Furthermore, all foster carers will also receive 24/7 support to ensure they’re never made to feel alone at any point of the fostering placement. To find out more about Perpetual Fostering visit www.
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