The commitment from the families
The objective of the fostering programme is not to replace the original family of the children, but to provide them with the care and support that they need within a family environment as an alternative to a life within a child protection centre or dysfunctional family.
The role that the foster family must play is to provide the basic care that every child needs. At the same time, foster carers offer emotional support in a normal family environment. This allows the children to successfully deal with the separation from their natural family, while they are prepared to return in those cases in which reintegration into the natural family might be possible.
For us it is very important that all foster carers have a clear understanding of the following principles:
- Role clarity: The foster family must adopt the clear role of ‘carers’. They must prevent any misunderstandings regarding their role in the fostered children’s lives in relation to their original family.
- Clear expectations: Fostering is time-bound and dependent on the intended objectives. It is advisable for the foster carers not to expect anything else but to cover those objectives. Fantasizing about a potential permanent placement must be avoided.
- Absence of adoption motives: The objectives of temporal, permanent and emergency fostering do not include the establishment of an adoption in the long-term. Thus, the expectations for adoption should not be the motivation behind fostering.