Any child or young person who enters the care system will come with complex needs that need to be addressed. As we’ve said before, there is never a happy reason for a child to find themselves in foster care and every person who enters the Affinity family deserves love, respect and care. But some children find it harder to find a good fostering placement. There are some estimates that between 10 and 25% of children in foster care have an additional mental or physical need. Whichever end of that estimate you look at, it shows that disabled children are overrepresented in the care system. Which is why we’re encouraging carers to think about fostering a child with disabilities.
Every person, no matter whether they are able bodied or disabled, has a set of unique needs that are specific to them. But for disabled children, these needs can sometimes be significant and complex, impacting on their enjoyment of everyday life. Caring for a disabled child means working to ensure that their life is the best it can be, helping them on their path to achieve their true potential.
Fostering children and young people is always a rewarding challenge, but for foster carers who look after children with complex needs, the results of their nurturing care are even more obvious. Disabilities can present themselves in many ways and may not just be physical. A person with a disability could have a brain injury, autism, medical conditions, or sensory disabilities like hearing loss or blindness. What’s important is to ensure that the needs of that child or young person are met and that they live life to it’s fullest. That’s where an amazing foster carer helps.
Fostering a child with disabilities undoubtedly requires a significant amount of extra time and attention and Affinity provide specific training to help our carers interact and care for any disabled children and young people in their households. Examples include Makaton training, play therapy diplomas, and training to look after children with complex physical needs. We also provide access to therapists and counsellors because we understand that changing lives can be emotionally draining.
All our foster carers receive outstanding support from our team, but those looking after children and young people with complex needs also benefit from bespoke support packages. We offer round the clock support, 24/7 with access to out of hours social workers and back-up managers. Whatever the situation and whatever the time or day, there is always someone available to speak to and to offer help and guidance.
We understand that every disability and complex health need is different, so our team work alongside our carers to create a support programme tailored to the child or young person living with them and their family’s needs. This includes training tailored around the needs of the young person combined with a block of support sessions designed to answer any questions, spot training gaps and make sure that everyone in the household is responding positively to the placement.
For carers who want to provide a head start to children with complex needs, all we ask is that you have patience, understanding and a willingness to learn.
If you’re interested in fostering a child with disabilities, we’d love to have a chat with you, so get in touch.