Childcare proceedings are a difficult and tumultuous time for everyone involved, and there are a lot of people involved, including the children themselves, their parent or parents, family members or wider support network, the local authority, and the foster carers of the child. It is with this in mind that we celebrate foster care fortnight and #FosteringCommunities because it really does take a community to come through childcare proceedings.
Foster carers are the unsung heroes of childcare proceedings, they are there for the children at a time of massive upheaval. Often foster carers will have to drop everything to take in a child, and they do it without question. Their role is to support the children emotionally and physically. The work they do is amazing.’
Demystifying childcare proceedings and the role of the foster carer
There are a lot of steps that lead up to childcare proceedings, but here we will focus on what happens after have been started.
If the local authority begins childcare proceedings, then the local authority will share responsibility for making decisions about your child. For example:
Interim care orders
This is where the foster carer comes in. If there is a child with no one in their family to look after them then the local authority will look to place them with a foster family. These are people who have chosen to open their homes to take in children who are going through the care process. This can be for the duration of the care proceedings, which can take up to 26 weeks (and often longer) for the local authority to assess and for the court to decide what will happen to the child at the conclusion of the proceedings.
During a foster family offer a safe and stable environment for the child or children to live in. Further to that they provide a place for the child to feel safe and someone to talk to.
If you are going through with your own child, it is important to remember that everyone involved, from the local authority to the foster family, are doing their best to act in the best interests of your child. Everyone has a role to play in supporting your child to ensure they get the best start in life, and the foster families they are placed with are key to that.