Imagine you are at school and are collected by a strange grown up you do not know but who seems to know you. Imagine you do not know where your parents are or when you will see them again but you are told you will sleep at another home that night.
Imagine you are taken in a strange car, by this strange grown up, to a strange house and greeted by strange people.
Imagine these strange people call you by name and offer your favourite meal for dinner, before showing you to a strange and pretty room, encouraging you to follow strange routines.
Imagine the strange people are very kind, they smile a lot, they seem nice….but they are….well…strange…..
When you imagine all of this, perhaps it is not too difficult to imagine why a child who is fostered may struggle to settle in their foster home, no matter how ‘very kind’, their foster family is.
As a foster carer, the initial stages of fostering a child or young person, may seem quite thankless. Why aren’t the children and young people grateful? They are now safe…why aren’t they happy? They are provided a wonderful child friendly room, why are they sleeping on the landing?
To conclude, here is a summary of some of the key reasons why children and young people may struggle to settle in their foster family:
- The child is confused about what is going on
- The child needs time to acclimatise
- The child feels overwhelmed
- The child is scared/mistrustful
- The child misses their birth family and familiarity
- The child is not used to ‘family’ environments
- The child is not used to being cared for
- The child feels that they are being disloyal to their birth family, if they settle
- The child is worried about how they will feel if they settle and then have to leave
- The child does not feel comfortable/the placement is a poor match for them
Chrysalis Care have almost twenty years experience of matching children and young people to fostering families and as far as possible, aim to counteract the possibility of reason number 10.
Could you be the family that a vulnerable child could settle in? Could you foster?