Foster carers of disabled children children need to maintain their own health, as its incredibly important to be able to sustain the energy and commitment needed to foster a disabled child. Apart from the more obvious aspects of day to day caring for disabled child, there is the balancing act of managing a calender with conflicting appointments and developing relationships with a myriad of professionals.
You are not going to be the foster carer who says ‘yes’ to all the jargon and information from the professionals who all seem to know best, simply agreeing to all manner of interventions in your child’s life. You need a full understanding of the reasons and consequences of all suggestions about your fostering situation. You are the driving force set to achieve key objectives for your child. You know what the objectives are because you’ve made it your business to know…..you’ve studied, you have talked to peers and you’ve asked lots of questions.
Working with Professionals
Its all too easy to be swamped by your child’s and if you are working alongside professionals who don’t or wont communicate in a way which is meaningful to you, your child’s needs are less likely to be met.
Working in partnership is crucial to the foster carer maintaining, supporting and moving a placement forward in a positive manner. Seeing your role as foster carer in this way may take some courage, experience and confidence, but its integral to the foster carers development as a dynamic advocate for the children in their care.
Proactive Skills and Tips
- Become the expert, educate yourself on the needs and conditions of your child, attend local parent support groups and find out about local available resources
- Use the internet to research and undertake relevant online training
- Attend all meetings, providing a professional, organised and succinct reports and presentations.
- Use the professional language/jargon used by the professionals
- Keep clear, detailed and concise written records
- Expect to receive minutes of each meeting, chase up if not received and point out any inaccuracies you may find.
Advocating on behalf of children in your care can be daunting and intimidating for foster carers, but with experience foster carers can become quite skilled advocates, which will benefit the child in their care. My experience is the better the advocate the more services will be obtained for the foster child and its not just a case of ‘who shouts the loudest’, but who ‘articulates the child’s needs the best’!
For more information related to advocacy and disabled children please go to Coram Voice