As a permanent foster carer you take on an extremely significant and special role, giving a child a sense of safety, security and stability until they become adult.
Our ultimate aim, wherever possible is to keep families together and return children to their home. However, this is sometimes not possible and permanent fostering may be a better option for the child. These placements can last for several years and usually involve children of school age or teenagers.
For these children, the important thing is for them to feel secure and safe in a foster family where they feel they belong, and to be with carers who can offer a commitment to them, to help and guide them through the rest of their childhood and into adulthood.
Many will still have links with their birth family. You will need to be able to value these links, understanding that they are important to the child despite what might have happened in the past.
It can be very rewarding to see the child you have cared for move on to a successful life. Many children who have been in permanent foster care form a close bond to their foster carers and keep in touch with them long after the placement ends.
Permanence in fostering offers the security of a child's physical, social and psychological well-being throughout childhood and into adulthood through consistent care, stable relationships and a secure family base. It improves placement stability, and offers an alternative permanent option to adoption, special guardianship or residence orders for some children.
The Family Finding Team
The Fostering Service has a Family Finding Team which specialises in permanent fostering. It consists of three part-time Family Finding Social Workers, each attached to the three local area fostering support teams.
The Family Finding Team will:
- ensure better planning and matching for all permanent placements
- reduce the risk of children drifting in the system
- improve children’s outcomes by increasing placement stability
- involve carers in making positive decisions about the children they care for
- encourage carers to plan for placements and not just react to demands
- improve foster carer recruitment and retention
If you are a DCC foster carer and are interested in permanent fostering, please discuss it with your Supervising Social Worker.
If you would like to consider becoming an approved permanent foster carer with DCC, here’s what to do.