Friday 31 July 2015

The issue of taking your foster child or children on holiday needs careful consideration and the decision will depend, very much, on everyone’s circumstances. There is no generalisation, no standard response, after all, we’re working with people and they’re all individuals!  

From Blue Sky’s perspective, we believe a foster child is welcomed into your home to be treated as a member of the family, so if you’re going on holiday, we expect you to take your foster child or young person with you. However, if you’re having a break away with your partner or friends to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary, it could be inappropriate to take your foster child with you. We understand this, fully.   

Holidays are important for everyone

We would never pretend or assume that being a foster carer or a foster child is easy because we know it isn’t. Inevitably, these vulnerable young people arrive at your home and have a ‘crash course’ in who’s who, how your home works and how you would like them to behave. It’s bewildering to say the least.  

They begin to settle and start to test the boundaries. You get to know their quirks and they yours. The bonding process is well underway and they trust you. Looking after them is tiring. You need a break, a chance to recharge your batteries, so you start to think about a holiday.  

Talk with your Supervising Social Worker

The big issue is, do you take your foster child or children with you or do you use some of you annual paid respite allowance.  

It’s at this point that it’s a good idea to sit down with your Blue Sky supervising social worker and talk it through.   

Thankfully, for the majority of the time, foster children enjoy a family holiday with their foster carers without a hitch.  

What may prevent my foster child from coming on holiday with me?

There are a number of instances where you may find it’s not possible for your foster child to join you on holiday. You may simply find a foster child is placed with you once your holiday is booked and if it involves flights or hotel accommodation, you may not be able to alter the booking.   

Occasionally, you may find the local authority is unable to gain permission for your foster child to have a passport or to be taken out of the UK.  

If they can’t come on holiday with me, where does my foster child go?

As soon as possible, tell your supervising social worker. He or she will then start to find a suitable respite placement with another Blue Sky foster carer.  

We know it is important to minimise the impact on your foster child so we ensure we find carers who will offer them stability and continuity. Sometimes, through social events, the carers will be known to your foster child already and they may have made friends with the children and young people in that carer’s home. Whatever the situation, we and the respite carers will do our best to ensure your foster child has a happy time and enjoys plenty of positive experiences to share with you upon your return.  

So, what sort of holidays should I book to ensure my foster child comes with me?

It’s hard to believe, but even though the UK is surrounded by sea, many children in the care system will never have known the joy of a simple day at the beach can bring. Their expectation of what a holiday will hold may be very different from yours. A static caravan or lodge on a holiday park will offer them wall to wall entertainment and a chance to enjoy a fun packed holiday and there will be something for everyone there.  

A week in a cottage in the Lake District, a boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads, towing a caravan or taking a campervan on tour or pitching a tent on a campsite in Devon. The chances are, your foster child will have a fabulous time and will enjoy the simple pleasures of a family holiday, with you.  

First trip to the seaside: They come as a threesome, and woe betide anyone who comes in between. Hyperactive bundles of energy, with an extraordinary curiosity about the world that exists beyond their estate. Even though they have lived only a few miles from the seaside, this is their first outing to the beach, and it proved to be a meeting of powerful forces. The oldest run wild, splashing through the waves, but their little brother stays at the shore, shrieking at the approach of every ripple. He puts his ear to the wet shingle, listening to the drag of the water. Even as the sun sets and the air chills they don't want to leave, refusing to believe that this magnificent playground will still be there when they next return.”  

Martin Barrow, Writer and foster carer, formerly at The Times of London writing in Huffington Post “Nine Reasons Why Being a Foster Carer Rocks”

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