The process of providing childcare to the children below 18 years, with the purpose of protecting and securing their future is called fostering. The mission is to secure children who are not able to live with their parents because of any legal reasons, by providing them with shelter, food and basic education. The reasons why some children are not able to live with their parents can be if the parents are not able to support their children physically and emotionally. It can be because of their poor health, unemployment or if they have committed a crime due to which they are in custody. In this situation, the state has to intervene in the matters and give the responsibility of the child to a foster company. Foster company, in return, gets a good family for the child who can be taken care of regarding his/her basic necessities, education, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
Fostering and adopting may seem like the same thing, but are two very different concepts. Although both of them involve taking the child into their lives and homes, there are still some major differences between the two concepts:
- Adoption is permanent while fostering is temporary. Adoption is legally adopting a child with consideration of taking full responsibility of the child. While fostering is about taking care of the child till they are entrusted back to their parents by the court.
- With adoption, birth parents have no legal say in the matters concerning the child. Birth parents have no legal responsibility after their child has been adopted. Whereas in fostering, parents are still the legal guardian of their children. And they can resume their lives after the permission of the court.
- Children can no longer inherit any of the possessions of their birth families, which is not the case in fostering.
- Adoption is a much-complicated process. Adopting a child is a personal decision usually for personal happiness where fostering is done mostly for social causes.
Foster companies play a very important role in the lives of foster children. They provide immense happiness and security to the children if they do their job properly; whereas their one mistake or a moment of carelessness can cause more harm to the children. To do their job properly, foster companies should know their role and responsibilities thoroughly, which are:
- To take responsibility for the child: Before assigning the responsibility to the foster families, the foster company or the social worker should make sure that the child is safe and under someone’s supervision. After the court declares the child to get foster care, it becomes the responsibility of the foster company to make sure that the child gets picked up safely and stays with them until he/ she gets a foster family.
- Simplify the process: Not everyone is willing to take up the responsibility of being a foster parent. But those who are willing to sign up for the task; it is the duty of the foster company to help him/her know and understand the whole process of fostering. As Tahir Khan from Perpetual Fostering explains, the process to become a foster parent is not a difficult as most people think. You should help the foster families in completing their legal formalities of filling forms and encourage them by providing assistance at any time of need.
- Right kind of family: It is the duty to find a family for the needy children, but finding a safe and a good family is also moral responsibility of the foster company. A background check is an important factor while judging the character of the foster parent. Assigning a family without checking the character can prove to be harmful to the child, physically and emotionally. There are several people who beat up the kids and emotionally abuse them leaving an emotional effect on the children for the whole of their life.
- Keep a regular check: Your task is not finished after assigning a family to the foster child. Keeping a regular check on the children to ensure that their needs are being met is the sole responsibility of the social worker. You can give a couple of surprise visits to check if the children are being treated properly or not. In case of any ill-treatment, the social worker or the foster company has the right to take a legal and strong action against the caretakers.
- Keep a record: The foster company should have a proper track record of the children, their birth parents, and their foster parents. The list helps in simplifying any legal matters. Having detailed information proves a company to be a good and considerate foster company.