For many kids, the prospect of having a happy home and loving parents does not seem possible. However, these children can find a place in caring family environments with the help of the people that work in the adoption and fostering side of social care.
On the other side of the coin, many couples that wish to have children are unable to do so and adoption and fostering is often the only way that they can start a family.
People that work in this area of social care offer support to the young children and the adults that are involved in the adoption and fostering processes. These procedures can be hugely personal and incredibly emotional for all involved. Consequently, a graduate job in this area of social care can be hugely rewarding and challenging in equal measure.
What does adoption & fostering involve?
Whether you’re helping a young person to find a foster home, supporting a host family, offering guidance to a couple that is looking to adopt or supporting a woman who is looking for a safe home for her child, this line of work focuses on incredibly personal situations.
Adoption is a very complicated process and often it can take years for people to adopt a child. Social workers in this area are tasked with finding a suitable family for a child in need of parents, as well as assessing the suitability of couples that are looking to adopt.
Given the complexity and sensitivity of the adoption process, social workers won’t simply dabble in this area of work. It is more usual for them to become specialist adoption social workers.
If a child is referred for adoption, usually because their birth parents are deemed unsuitable, the situation will be presented to an adoption panel. If adoption is deemed appropriate, the search to find suitable parents begins.
Considering the implications of making such a match, this decision is not taken lightly. The assessment process for potential adoptive parents is rigorous to say the least. A social worker will be required to manage this whole process.
Fostering is also a two-way process. Firstly, foster carers need to be assessed for their suitability. If the assessment goes according to plan, the social worker will then be entrusted with the task of introducing the child to the host family.
This is only the beginning though! It’s important that both the child and foster family are supported along the way. You’ll be required to offer ongoing assistance that will help the child to forge a relationship with the foster carer and vice versa.
How do I get into adoption & fostering?
Given the nature of the job, work experience is crucial. You’ll need to be patient and sensitive to the situations of everybody involved. Furthermore, you’ll need to prove that you have the right skills to provide the level of support that is required.
Usually, you will begin working alongside an experienced social worker to help you ‘learn the ropes’. It’s very important that you understand the processes involved and the way that you must operate in certain situations. This sort of stuff can’t be read in books, ladies and gents, you need to experience it!
So, while you may need to be pretty resilient at times to work in this sector, it can also be incredibly rewarding. You’ll be making such an unbelievable difference to children, couples and families throughout the country, and we think that’s pretty awesome.