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Tips for coping when foster placements end

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As a foster parent, you are always prepared for the prospect that the placement may end. This being said, it doesn’t make the ending any easier, especially when you have cared for a child over a long period of time and formed attachments. In this guide, we’ve put together a few tips to make the process a little easier and help you cope when the child moves on.

Why do foster placements end?

There are various reasons as to why a foster placement may end, but a few of the most common reasons would be:

  • Types of foster care – as a foster parent, you may specialise in certain areas of foster care. For instance, if you have short term placements, you may only be fostering a child for a matter of days or weeks.
  • Adoption – foster children may be adopted by a new family if they cannot be reunited with their birth parents, which would mean the placement would come to an end.
  •  Reunification – the main goal of many placements is for the child to eventually be reunited with their family.
  • Broken down placement – in rare instances, a foster placement simply doesn’t work out because of difficulties between the foster parent and the child.
  • Specialist placement – if a child has complex behavioural or mental health challenges, they may be moved into specialist care.
  • Care leaver when a child reaches the age of 16-18, they are able to leave the foster care system and live independently.
  •  Personal reasons – you may be facing challenges in your own life, such as bereavement or divorce, which means that you are no longer able to look after your foster child.

How to cope when a foster placement ends

Saying goodbye to a foster child can often be emotional, especially if you’ve developed a relationship with them. That’s why we’ve compiled a few tips you can do to help, such as:

  • Liaising with the social team – working closely with social workers and foster care support team will help to make the transition as smooth as possible.
  • Creating a support plan – if your foster child is leaving the care system to become a care leaver, they are likely to be nervous at the prospect of being independent, and find the situation daunting. One way to prepare for this is to work together with the child and your social worker to create a care plan which will help them become more independent, assessing their goals going forward in life.
  • Giving them a memento – you could create a scrapbook of memories that will commemorate their time spent with you. It may potentially be something that they can cherish forever, and remind them of the time spent with your foster family.
  • Taking a break – it’s worth noting that it might be wise to take a break in between your fostering arrangements. Sometimes, you may need that extra breather time to process saying goodbye to your foster child, which allows you that period of recharging and reflecting.
  •  Aftercare support – once your foster child has left your home, you can seek support from groups that could help with your transition. Here at FosterCare UK, we have an extensive network of like-minded carers on hand to help support you.

Thinking of becoming a foster parent? Our fostering training and support services are there with you every step of the way. Learn more about our recruitment process today and get in touch with a member of our FosterCare UK team for further information on becoming a foster parent.

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