Ensuring that both foster carer and child are safe is a top priority for every single agency in the country. The practices and policies in place provide protection, but there is a call for foster carers to fully engage in order to ensure things are happening the way they should be. Here is a breakdown of what can be done in any placement to facilitate foster carer safety as well as that of the child.
Pay Attention At the Start
When you become a foster carer, you will have a lot of information to process and skills to learn. Paying attention from the very beginning is pivotal. It is in your best interest to engage with all of the training and participate fully in what’s being said. This information will come in handy over the course of your fostering journey, and it is something you draw upon along the way. There will be many conversations and training modules around safer care here, and it is one of the most essential parts of becoming a strong, resilient carer.
Alongside the initial training, there will be a number ofadditional training courses throughout your time in active caring. When you welcome a child into your home, try to embrace every opportunity that is presented to you. This will help you fine-tune those core skills and continue to pick up new facts and strategies as you move into being a more experienced care lead. Similarly, if there is an area you don’t feel 100% comfortable with, actively seek out opportunities to improve those skills as well. Everything is worth a conversation, and you can never be completely safe in the environment if you have areas where you feel uncertain.
Create a Top-Tier Safeguarding Document
The safeguarding document is an all-important assessment that carers and social care support teams are obligated to uphold. When this document is designed, it should detail every potential risk of the placement, and have a number of strategies in place to mitigate it. You need to know who you can call if things step into unsafe territory, and which steps to take to protect your professional integrity too.
Report Every Concern
Should there ever be a moment that makes you stop and think, it is your duty of care to report it to the agency. They need to be kept in the loop with the important things as well as the little occurrences too. This is to ensure you are not liable should the concern develop, and to liaise about effective courses of action as a response.
Above all else, move to always have healthy boundaries in place in your home. These will enable you to feel confident in your care decisions and to set an example for the children you are looking after too. Boundaries are a part of every healthy household and are a great tool for providing emotional support and general development.
As a foster carer, there are a lot of conversations to have around safety. While protecting children is of utmost importance, so too is protecting the carer.