We have looked at the experience of the child, caseworker, and birth parents, and their distinct OOHC journeys and experience with TLSW. Today we will consider the role of the Foster Carer. The integral, foundational role that requires so much of the individual, and can in turn give back so much.
Steadfast. Resilient. Compassionate.
Adjectives synonymous with the identity of the Foster Carer and their journey.
The Foster Carers role is momentous. Stepping into this world requires you to step out of yourself, and out of your comfort. It means giving generously, in time, consideration and effort, to a child in need.
It means ensuring safety. The first and most important task. Children in OOHC have unique and individual life stories, but one commonality is that their safety has been jeopardised so much so, that they must be removed from their home and placed in care.
Safety, though the most important task, is perhaps the easiest task. Once the child is safely in your care, you then must navigate the complex role of nurturing, comforting and guiding a child, who may respond to you in varying and tumultuous ways.
It is as complex in nature as it is in rewards. A journey discovering a small human being and learning how to become their foster carer and accepting whatever that caring role looks like to them.
Therapeutic Life Story Work offers the Foster Carer the opportunity to journey with the child. The opportunity to get a rare glimpse, usually not accessible to the carer, into the child’s past and their development. This insight, and understanding may not enable you to address or solve their behavioural challenges, but it at minimum will allow you to accept it and view it appropriately.
TLSW offers the chance for collaboration, an opportunity to work with the child, to journey and discover with the child. A transformative process bringing you closer to the child’s view and the child themselves. The Life Story Book captures this journey and can be a lifelong tool for both the child and the Foster Carer.
TLSW also provides a wider view of appreciation, you learn about the child’s biological family, information which traditionally is limited. Limited information naturally leads to assumptions, this program answers questions about the child’s family and connects you to them, to their story and their view.
A Foster Carer’s impactful remark highlights the nature of TLSW perfectly “After the first session it became clear to me this is a gateway to emotional freedom. Bringing us closer together and allowing me to support him when he asks questions.”
And finally, it offers direction, a shared vision and direction, to get you on board the collective journey with all the other stakeholders (family, caseworker, child), so you are all working towards the same goal, with the same knowledge and the same understanding.
Working for a life for the child that is the best for them, with all of their ‘people’ walking along with them.
This miniseries will journey through each stakeholder involved and impacted by TLSW. Our next post will look closely at the role of the TLSW practitioner, and how TLSW is seen and received through their eyes.
You can Click Hereto read our last blog post that outlines the benefits of Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSW) to the child themselves.
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