In the Falkland Islands we need all types of foster carers, and particularly welcome families who can offer flexibility.
Emergency foster carers need to be prepared to take a child into their home at any time of the day or night at short notice and to look after them for a few days whilst long term plans are considered.
Short term may be anything from a few days to a period of several months. Short term foster care provides children with a temporary place to stay until the child can return home to their own family or arrangements for longer term care can be made.
Sometimes children are not able to go back to live with their own families for a number of months years, if at all. Long term fostering allows children and young people to live in a family where they can feel secure whilst possibly maintaining contact with their birth family.
Sometimes emergency or short term placements may become long term.
Short break and respite care
This is sometimes known as ‘shared care’, and covers a variety of types of part time care. You may have a child placed with you for a few hours each week to a couple of weekends each month. This may be to offer birth families looking after a child with a disability time a break or to spend time with their other children, to provide other foster carers for a short period of respite, or to help prevent children coming into the care system by offering the family support before difficulties escalate to the point where the family can no longer manage.
Kinship/Family and friends
Sometimes a child or young person can be placed with a family member or close family friend. In this case, the foster carer is approved as a kinship carer for that child only.
Who can foster?
Rule yourself in; almost anyone can become a foster carer.
- You can be a parent already or have no children of your own.
- You can be single, married or have a partner
- You can be in work or not employed
- You can own your own house or be renting, as long as its stable
- You can apply to foster whatever your cultural background and religious beliefs.
- Your sexuality will not prevent you from fostering
- You can apply from the age of 23
- You can continue fostering to any age as long as your health is good.
- You do not need any formal qualifications.
- A positive police check will not necessarily rule you out from being a foster carer [depending on the nature of the offence]
Becoming a foster carer
Choosing to foster is a big decision. The support you receive from Social services and from your own network of friends and family will be critical to help you during your fostering career.
If you would like more information about fostering, please contact Social Services. A social worker will visit you at your home to have a discussion about fostering and answer any of your questions. You will not be committed to making a decision at this stage. We can also put you in touch with an experienced foster carer if you would find that helpful.
Should you decide to proceed and you fulfil the criteria, you will make a formal application. There will then be a period of assessment and preparation carried out by an assigned social worker.
Your social worker will support you throughout the process and carry out an assessment of you and your household to preclude any thing that may make you unsuitable to look after other people’s children. Your assessment will also include police checks, a full medical and personal and professional references. You will be expected to play a role in the preparation of your assessment report
Once your assessment is completed it will be submitted to a group of people known as the Fostering Panel who will hold a meeting to consider your suitability to foster. You will be invited to attend this meeting and to give your views. The panel will give their recommendation to Social services, and the final decision will be made by the Director of Health and Social Services.
This may at times appear to be a rather daunting and long winded process. However, we take the responsibility of protecting children and young people very seriously and do all we can to ensure that children in need of care are placed appropriately. We hope you will agree that the outcome is worth it.