If you are budding foster parents eagerly awaiting your first placement, you will no doubt be excited about things to come. Wollongong has numerous foster families with parents that were once in your position, and we have seen them all as they adapt to their new lives in this wonderful and challenging (or wonderfully challenging!) role.
And, when it comes to providing the best foster care Wollongong has available, there are a few tips you might like to consider when partaking in this awesome new experience.
They are as a follows:
- Be sure to have a support network in place
The first – and most important thing – is to have your own support network in place. You’re offering a wonderful service, but it can be challenging, so it is important that you look into the various support networks you have at your disposal. Whether that is through your local Wollongong foster network, social media groups or family, there are plenty of helpful options at your disposal in the modern era!
- Be sure to reach out if you need to
Your friends, family and support networks are there to help you. After all, they will surely understand that what you’re providing is a special service, but they may not always know about your needs at this time. So be sure to accept help – and certainly ask for it – if the need arises.
Whether it be through talking, accepting food for the new family, goods for the child or something completely different, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for and accept help if the need arises.
- Keep a routine
It’s an unfortunate fact of this service that many children that come through the system have experienced some form of trauma. Obviously, they are not alway sure what to expect in their new household, and that’s why we strongly recommend narrating your day to them so that they know what to expect and will feel less uncertain about what their day beholds. It’s important to keep your placement in the loop so that they feel more comfortable and included at home – scheduling and detailing the daily plan to them will certainly go a long way to making this happen.
- Be sure of the family rules
Rules always help when providing the best foster care Wollongong has, and they are especially important for young people (as much as they might not think so!). Therefore, it’s important to develop these rules before your first placement and allow space for adaption if you feel the rule isn’t working out for whatever reasons.
- Be prepared for some challenging times
As exciting as this time is, it is important not to forget that it will also be challenging. It is a new family dynamic that is very different for both you and the placement child, so you can expect that there will be difficulties.
We suggest trying to adapt to any challenges in advance, ensuring that you are able to make the home as comfortable and welcoming as possible so that they will not be too stressed upon arrival. You will most likely experience challenges when it comes to dinner times, bed time, bath time etc. so it is important to be aware of that and have certain contingency plans in place (like having healthy snacks on hand when dinner time doesn’t go to plan!).
We hope these pieces of advice can assist with this exciting new role you’re undertaking. Remember, you’re providing a fantastic service, your lifestyle will change, and so you should always be ready to ask for help in whatever way you need it – no doubt those around you will be more than happy to help!