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What I Know: 7 Fostering Tips

7 Marie

Marie is an experienced Therapeutically Led Care foster carer with Blue Sky. She has been fostering for almost 6 years, during which time she has had lots of different placements.

Most recently she has 2 boys, not related. One is 10 years old, and has been with her and her partner for 3 years; the other is 13 years old and has been with them for 2 years. They all hope he will become a long-term placement.

They are both very different and with their unique own challenges to face. It's sometimes tricky juggling their individual needs but somehow we seem to manage! Blue Sky have been supportive suggesting different strategies and we are all in a good place. We celebrate the small stuff, and remember to sometimes take a little time to ourselves.

Here she shares 7 Fostering Tips from her own experience. Everyone can benefit from these, whether considering fostering, as an experienced foster carer - or simply applying her tips to life!


Fostering insights


  • Foster Carer
  • Advice
  • Support
  • Long-term fostering

Date published

11 November 2023

Blue Sky Children

This is What I Know.

Over 6 years of Fostering and I'm still learning.

It took some thought to write this. But they are things I believe are important - or have been to me - so here goes:

The best advice I could give to other carers would be the following...

No 1. Be the child...

Take yourself back in time to their age. Wonder how your younger self would manage and cope. Would you thrive? Or give up hope?

Most of our young people are terrified and scared. They have had their lives upturned, sometimes numerous times. They are often in fight or flight mode. In training, we can recognise this easily, with written examples and experiences. In reality, it can look a little different and feel like it's something else completely.

Take yourself back in time to their age. Wonder how your younger self would manage and cope. Would you thrive? Or give up hope?

No 2. Always try to be open

Always try to be open to the: 'It’s not usually personal against you.’ It feels like it is, but it’s not. You may be thinking, ‘What's wrong with you?’ Instead, try to say to yourself "What happened to you?" (a good book and recommended read!).

All behaviours, whether they are manic happiness, overwhelming love for you, desperate sadness or explosive anger are the young person sending you a message. They are telling you something, the hard part is to figure out what! 

No 3. Be open and honest with the team around you

If you are struggling, tell them. There is no shame in this. We all struggle sometimes, and it would be more worrying to the professionals around you if you pretend everything is fine when it's clearly not. They've seen it a million times before, and they know when things are tough, but unless you tell them they are limited as to what they can do to support you.

No 4. Use the support network around you

Whether it is friends who truly understand, family members, your professional network, or other carers. This can be a lonely life if you let it. Other carers are the only people who can truly understand how life is for you now and can offer effective advice and support, a few laughs over coffee and cake, or if you are lucky a glass of wine. 

It may be alien to you to reach out to people not already in your network, but the best advice I can give is to do it! Do it soon and do it often.

We are all here for each other.  Reach out of your comfort zone, speak to foster carers and get to know them. If by chance you are in the enviable position of not needing support right now, still do it, because the person you reach out to may need your help and support instead. Give a bit of yourself to others who may benefit from you.

No 5. Trust your gut

if you feel something is off, wrong or doesn't feel OK, then you are probably right. Time to chat with your Senior Social Worker or call out of hours. Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s something - but share it. Don't think your BSF Out of Hours service is only for life-threatening, absconding, terrible accident moments. No, it’s not.

If I had a pound for every time, I've called OHS to run something by them, always starting with, "Sorry to bother you, it may be nothing; I might be overthinking this but... " I'd have many, many pounds and move to a bigger house and take another young person!

It's okay to call for advice. It's ok to call to check you did the right thing, and it's actually OK to call and say you've made a mistake, and something has gone wrong/happened. This is your personal Out Of Hours service that is there to support you and the young person you care for!

No 6. Reflective Practice

Some love it, some hate it. Some use it to air all their moans and groans; some nod and smile whilst knowing that they are just going to carry on as they were…

We all have this brilliant resource weekly, and we need to make the most of it. I'll take any advice and try it, whether from the clinical practitioner or the other lovely carers in my group: "Sleep problems you say? Try a portable radio with Classic FM on quietly in the background...”

Stupid suggestion? Nope, it worked and my young man will now often ask Alexa for calming music.

Don't write off advice until you have given it a good try!

No 7. Lastly, celebrate!

This is challenging, yes, but rewarding. Oh my goodness so rewarding! My life has changed dramatically from being a Sales Executive flogging shoes, schmoozing customers, drinking coffee and travelling half the country. Yes, I don't have a flash car, top-of-the-range phone, iPad, laptop, or uncapped commission - but I wouldn't change what I have now for the world!

blue sky fostering children

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