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Leeds | Brighter Fostering
There are reasons behind the challenging behaviours

There are reasons behind the challenging behaviours

In this blog we are focusing on children who are exhibiting challenging behaviours whilst in foster care and ways in which their foster carers can support them.

There is a misconception that children who are ‘behaving badly’ are ‘naughty children’. This can be correct, but usually there is reason behind the behaviours.

Every child who enters the care system will be there for different reasons. Some may need some short-term care whilst a parent/carer is managing an illness, others may have experienced extreme abuse and neglect throughout their childhood.

Due to this some children may be perceived as challenging and exhibit “bad behaviours”. However, there are steps as a foster carer you can take to try and prevent this and help the foster child settle into your home.

What can I do as a foster carer?

1. Set some clear house rules

When a foster child is coming into a new environment, they will not know all the rules of the house. Your job as a foster carer is to sit down with the foster child/children and explain the house rules to them. You need to ensure that the whole family is abiding to these rules and not just the foster children. If the foster children receive different rules from the others in the household, they may start to feel vulnerable which could in turn cause upset and anger towards the foster carers.

This will usually be done with your supervising social worker in a Safer Caring Agreement meeting. The meeting will include the foster carer/s the foster child/ren and your supervising social worker, it may also include the child’s social worker from the local authority.

Adults within the household who are implementing the rules need to ensure that they are on the same page when instilling the rules to the children. The approach needs to be consistent if not the foster child may notice the inconsistency in authority within the household and attempt to challenge this.

2. Outline expectations

When trying to manage behaviour it is vital that you as the foster carer outline all the expectations of the foster child. For example, this could be something such as keeping their bedrooms tidy or helping unload the dishwasher three times a week. By giving specific expectations to the foster child, it can instil a sense of responsibility and purpose.

3. Lead by example

Behave as you want children to behave, it is incredibly important that you behave positively to ensure that this is reinforced. For example, we all have times of disagreement, however these disagreements should be settled in a calm manner, through discussion rather than resorting to volatile language and shouting.

4. Praise!!

Praise is so important to any child. Praise will help to build confidence and self-esteem. It is not uncommon that children within the care system have low self-confidence and self-esteem, yet with giving praise where praise is deserved these attributions will improve. With better self confidence and self-esteem, it will allow the foster child to express themselves positively.

Managing behaviour of young people and children is not just an art, there is a considerable amount of thought, training and experience that will support the work needed to be done.

This is by no means a complete guide but more of a small insight to working with children with challenging behaviour, we hope you found this useful as there are an immense amount of resources one can explore.

Brighter Fostering

Brighter Fostering, Fostering Panel

Brighter Fostering, Fostering Panel

In accordance with fostering Service Regulations, Brighter Fostering maintains a central list of panel members who are selected to reflect the community that the panel serves, who may be professionals and service user between them who have a vast range of experience. The panel may include a Brighter Fostering social worker or senior member with Panel experience but predominantly will consist of independent adults with experience and knowledge of fostering and those who work in children’s social care, or health and education.

The convene a Fostering Panel Meeting the following people must come together:

A Panel Chairperson

They are not an employee of Brighter Fostering, but an Independent person with the necessary skills knowledge and expertise to chair the panel.

A Vice Chair

This person is responsible for chairing meetings in the chair’s absence or when the position of chair is vacant.

One Social Worker

They will have at least 3 years relevant post-qualification experience in childcare with direct experience of fostering or in placing/supervising children in foster care.

At least three other Members

Panel membership must include at least 3 other members not including the independent Chairperson. Where possible Brighter Fostering will request at least one foster/adoptive parent from another service and when, if possible, a former looked after young person who now meets the necessary conditions to join the panel.

The Panel Adviser

At Brighter Fostering, this role is fulfilled by our Service Development Manager. We also have an Independent Panel Advisor who in a previous role was a Senior Social Worker and Independent Reviewing Officer. Any one of the Panel Advisers will be present at the panel meeting. The Panel Adviser is there to advise panel members on regulations, agency policy, practice and performance requirements.

The assessing social worker will be there with the applicant to explain the recommendation to the panel and, if the applicant wishes, they can bring a friend or relative for support. That person can come into panel or stay in the waiting area, whilst the panel members deliberate and meet the assessing social worker and the applicants.

Before the panel, the chair will come and introduce themselves and explain what will happen and how the panel works.

The panel will discuss your application and then ask the assessing social worker any questions, after that the applicant will be requested to come in and join them along with the assessing social worker. The panel will then introduce themselves and ask a few questions, including your answers to the children’s questions.

What will the fostering panel ask the applicants?

Panel members might ask about the assessment, the training and why the applicants are looking forward to becoming future foster carers.

The panel will be likely to also ask the assessing social worker some questions if there are things that they need to clarify after reading the completed assessment report. They are there just to clarify issues and not to interrogate the applicants.

What happens next?

After introductions and asking the necessary questions, the applicants and the assessing social worker will be asked to return to the waiting area while panel considers their recommendation.

Having concluded its discussions and deliberations, the Panel must do one of three things:

1. Recommend for approval as suggested in the assessment report by the assessing social worker, which will include reasons why the panel feels the applicant is suitable to foster, number of placements, age, gender, and type of placement.

2. Defer a recommendation with reasons for their deferral, this may be down to requiring more information about the applicant’s suitability to foster.

3. Recommend Not to Approve, if the panel feels the applicants are not suitable to foster, reasons will be shared with applicants for why the recommendation is being made.

The Panel Chair, with consulting the panel members, will then inform the applicant about their recommendation and that The Brighter Fostering Agency Decision Maker (ADM), will consider that recommendation and make a formal decision as to whether the applicant should be approved as a foster parent.

The Decision is made by the Agency Decision Maker (ADM)

This decision will be made as quickly as possible and will normally be communicated to the applicants as soon as the ADM makes their decision and then in writing within 10 working days of the decision.

Following the panel, applicants will receive a feedback form to let Brighter Fostering know your views on the assessment and the panel experience. This will be helpful and will inform the service what is working well and whether there are any areas we can improve on.

The overall experience of Fostering Applicants

Attending panel may feel a bit daunting and the idea of a room full of people asking applicants questions might feel overwhelming, but the truth is most people having attended a panel meeting it is definitely not intimidating which they had feared and that panel members are friendly and welcoming.

All panel members will be aware that people may be a bit anxious about attending and they will try to help applicants to feel relaxed, at ease and be comfortable, having completed an intense assessment process, this is the final stage of process, so remain positive.

I would love to foster, but I could not say goodbye

I would love to foster, but I could not say goodbye

Why the fear of “getting too attached” shouldn’t stop you from fostering

I’d love to foster, but….   

Our May blog aimed to address some of the common myths and buts that prevent people from applying to be foster carers. Now you may be thinking that fostering could be right for you and your family, but you still have concerns.

Our June blog discusses one of the biggest buts for many people … I’d love to foster, but I couldn’t say goodbye.

Throughout our June blog, we will explore why a fear of getting too attached shouldn’t deter you from fostering and why it may make you the perfect person.

When and why do foster children move on?

In some cases, fostering can turn into a permanent living arrangement.

However, most children leave foster care to return to their birth families, when the birth parents or their family members have received the support needed to enable them to provide a safe and stable home for their child. 

Alternatively, some children may move on to another more permanent home, such as an adoptive family or permanent fostering home.

Children may reach the age of 18 when in your care and you may support them to move onto independent or supported living arrangements. 

(NSPCC 2021)

How can I cope with saying goodbye? 

Saying goodbye to a child who has become a part of your family will be hard and your emotions are valid and understandable. We are human and foster carers will and should form strong bonds with the children in their care.

Being concerned about getting too attached is not a hindrance, it’s an asset. Being able to build a strong attachment with a child will enable you to attune to their needs and help them to thrive when they’re with you and in the future.

People foster for many years and say goodbye to many children. Resilience will come with time and through the knowledge that you and your family made a positive difference to the life of the foster child.

Remember – you are not on your own! 

Your support network will no doubt play an important part in your fostering journey. If you are in a couple, lean on each other. Reach out to friends. Talk to fellow foster carers about their experiences.

Your supervising social worker will also make sure that you are supported fully in both a practical and emotional sense, whether that involves training, taking a break or talking through your feelings.

“Do not let the fear of having a child that might leave deter us; instead let the fear of a child never knowing our love drive us” (Johnson 2022)

Let’s keep answering your concerns!

We would love to have the opportunity to support you through your fostering journey.

If you would love to foster but have those niggling questions or concerns, our friendly and approachable team are here to help- you won’t know until you ask!

You can reach us by email: info@brighterfostering.co.uk

Or by phone: 0113 350 9006 or 07368594169

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