The first foster placement for a newly trained carer is invariably a daunting and challenging task.
Taking a step into the unknown and inviting a child into your home who will normally be dealing with a range of overwhelming feelings requires support and help.
All foster carers, whether new to caring or not, receive close support and help from us at Alliance Foster Care, as we put carer well-being as a top priority.
However, another very effective tier of support for carers that should not be overlooked is the support they give each other.
Peer support and mentoring in foster caring is invaluable; hearing directly from another person who has experienced (and overcome) the same challenges can help to make difficult situations seem manageable.
Fostering requires a wide range of talents, from managing the mundane and the everyday (dealing with schools, bedtimes, pocket money and routines), to coping with the fears and worries that foster children invariably have.
Challenging behaviour or dealing with a child in distress can be overwhelming for even the most experienced adult to deal with on their own.
Friends and family who are not carers might be able to sympathise, but they rarely have the insight required to help because they have not experienced fostering first hand.
This is why a fostering mentor is such an invaluable resource for carers, someone who knows your situation because they have been there themselves.
Having this kind of expert help can make all the difference to carers and foster children and ensure that the placement is a success.