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Considering your mental health as a foster carer

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Fostering involves temporary or long-term guardianship of children and young people. This can involve taking in a single child, multiple children, or siblings. Foster carers can expect to take on all manner of roles in these young people’s lives, including nurturing their hobbies, drawing out their hopes and dreams, eradicating their fears, working through their trauma, and encouraging them to open themselves up to new experiences and development.

With every challenge comes its own rewards and fostering is no different. Whilst fostering can be an extremely rewarding experience, it’s also important to acknowledge the challenges it can bring. Whether you’re considering fostering or are already a foster carer, here are a few mental health considerations and strategies to best prepare you for the journey ahead…


Acknowledge the Emotional Impact of Fostering

Caring for children who have experienced trauma can be emotionally challenging. Many foster children will have experienced neglect and abuse, which can present a unique set of difficulties. Whilst it is important that the foster carer can support the child through these challenges, foster carers or potential foster carers should also acknowledge the impact this can have on their own emotions. These feelings may include sadness, stress, and frustration. Acknowledging such feelings is an important step to gaining support. Remember, foster carers are only human!


Seek Support

Foster carers should consider seeking support if they are struggling. Olive Branch are of course always there for any issues that might arise, including a full breadth of training. Support can also be found in the form of friends, family, and professionals. It may be helpful to join our monthly support groups to cope with the emotional demands of fostering. We also have our very own emotional health practitioner who can be there to listen and support


Practice Self Care

Fostering can be a very selfless thing to do, but it’s also important to practice self-care. Foster carers should prioritize their self-care where possible, including healthy eating, exercise, and getting enough sleep. Something as simple as setting aside time for enjoyable hobbies and activities can be big stress relievers.


Set Realistic Expectations

Whilst foster carers may have an ideal idea in their mind as to how fostering will be, it’s important to try to set realistic expectations for themselves and the children in their care. Progress may take time, and setbacks can occur, but this is part of the fostering journey.


Celebrate Successes

Despite the challenges that can arise, there are also many successes along the way. Foster carers should celebrate successes, both big and small. Recognising progress and achievements can help foster carers stay motivated and maintain their mental health.


Fostering can be a challenging but very rewarding experience, which can present its own unique set of challenges. Throughout the process, it is essential for foster carers to prioritise their mental health and well-being to provide the best care for the children in their care.


Our friendly team at Olive Branch are always here to talk and offer support. To make a start, call us on 01706 558910 or contact us online and we’ll be in touch as soon as we can.


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Date published

12 January 2023

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