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Therapeutic foster care is a challenge, but it is the right one for me!

‘When I found out about Therapeutic foster care, I knew instinctively therapeutic care was the right choice for me. I’d never heard of it before, but I have a friend who is a very experienced foster carer, and she told me about it in conversation.

She said, ‘Therapeutic foster care is about caring for children who had often suffered significant trauma; thus, it was considered a very ‘challenging’ role.’

I listened when she described it, and I knew the skills I learned, both personally and professionally, could be helpful. Instinctively, as I discovered more about Therapeutic foster care, I knew this was the one for me.’


Therapeutic foster care is a long-term commitment to a child.

Therapeutic foster carers are often unable to support more than one child at a time because these children need 1:1 care in a nurturing environment.

Many of these children are over six years of age and labelled with displaying ‘challenging behaviour’, mainly due to the significant trauma they have suffered in their lives.

Therefore, your fostering support’s consistency is vital; however, another reason for choosing Therapeutic foster care; I wanted a young person to be placed with me long-term.


Sadly, many children who need therapeutic foster carers are the hardest to find homes. Many of these children are older, and subsequently, Therapeutic foster carers need to commit themselves to a child long-term.


My dream was to make a difference in a child’s life.

‘It was my dream to make a difference to a vulnerable child’s life when it was most needed; this meant it would take time, a lot of time.

However, I chose to give my time; I knew to do this right; I had to commit to a child and commit myself as a foster carer.’

young boy wearing glasses in a shirt and tie looking at the camera and smiling

Therapeutic foster care is a specialist type of fostering; it is not the kind of care you can stop and give up on; because, sadly, for many children, you are the last hope.

‘Many children have faced trauma, loss, and rejection; subsequently, broken placements with foster carers who give up means these children will develop trust and emotional barriers.’

‘We must get it right; we owe it to the children and their future lives to get it right; therefore, when we say we commit and provide continuity of care, then that is what we must do.

I am currently a foster carer for a child who has been living with me for 9 years, and I am incredibly proud of the young man he has become. He has started college this year, and his main subject is Childcare because he wants to be a Foster carer himself in a few years.’


'I loved hearing him say this because, to me, it shows he had a good experience of being in care. It is these times when you can see how much of a difference you can make to a child's life.'

A very proud Therapeutic foster carer!

Therapeutic foster care; looking beyond the ‘label.’

‘When you hear people referring to the term or labelling children as having ‘challenging behaviour’, it can seem daunting; but, with support from social services, regular training, support groups, other carers and friends and family, you are never alone.

I find it works to get other people’s perspectives and listen to their advice, mainly about the parenting tools you can try.’

Naturally, there have been many 'challenging' times, and I have learned a lot along the way; but, the rewards are immense.

‘When a young person begins to trust you and settle in their life with you, they start to flourish. Most importantly, Therapeutic foster care is supporting young people to a better future; thus, I can think of no other career as rewarding!’


‘You don’t need specific qualifications to become a Therapeutic foster carer.’

To be a therapeutic foster carer, you don’t need any specific qualifications; however, it would help if you undertake some training, particularly about behaviours and parenting programmes.

I used Triple P and Webster Stratton, and I found them very helpful, and subsequently, I use their strategies often.


Triple P is a parenting intervention with the main goals of increasing parents’ knowledge, skills, and confidence and reducing the prevalence of mental health, emotional, and behavioural problems in children and adolescents. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_P_(parenting_program)

The Webster-Stratton Incredible Years Therapeutic Dinosaur School programme is a set of interlocking programmes for parents, children, and teachers to treat conduct disorder. It was developed for 4-8-year-old to help them develop more appropriate social and problem-solving skills.

https://psychology.wikia.org/wiki/Webster-Stratton_Incredible_Years_programme

‘I have learnt a lot since being a foster carer, but I think that could be said of all parents. We all learn as we go along!’


Identifying challenging behaviour helps.

‘I found I need to be aware of a child’s everyday behaviour in conjunction with ‘challenging behaviours’ because it helped me identify triggers. These ‘triggers’ often lead to ‘challenging behaviour’, quite often caused by trauma in their past.

Therapeutic foster carers are taught to recognise ‘triggers; our extensive training makes a huge difference in creating support strategies for children.’

‘In summary, my interpretation of the title of Therapeutic foster care is…

'I love the vocation that I am doing. I feel fortunate and proud to have made a difference to a young person's life, knowing that their experience of their life with me will always be with them and carry them through to adulthood.'


Therapeutic foster care is a challenging type of foster care; consequently, you get outstanding support from Not for Profit charities with experienced support teams who are hugely skilled in caring for children. Most importantly, you will need patience and an enormous sense of humour, as children will push you to the limit at times.

However, for many of us, we have often had that most of our lives with our children and children we have professionally supported, and for most, they have turned out well.

And that’s because we took our time and never, ever gave up. Does this sound like you? Please, get in touch by filling in the contact form below, and we’ll call you back.

Together, we can all make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children.


Together we can make a difference to a child’s life when they need it most; Stay safe.

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