Welcome to our monthly blog with Foster Carer Lisa Scott. This month, Lisa shares her experience of caring for children at Christmas.
Can you genuinely believe that Christmas has rolled round again so quickly?
This should be a “Joyous” time of year to celebrate and enjoy valuable time with your family, however, the mood can be the exact opposite for children in our care.
I recall 8 years ago when a young lad arrived mid-November being right at the start of his “journey in care” where nothing was established in reference to contact. It started weekly initially, but the Contact Centre closed early for two weeks over the festive period. This was such a traumatic time for him living with a new family and not being able to see his own.
We managed to create an early Christmas day at the centre, taking along snacks and swapping gifts. Over the years contact became unsupervised to the point where birth parents came to our house on Christmas morning to exchange presents, this was perfect for the kids.
Gifts for All
That same Christmas, we also had a very difficult situation, where we had purchased the same young man an iPad for his main present. On the morning of Christmas Eve we found on his computer history that he had been viewing inappropriate material (partly our fault for not being IT savvy and securing the internet).
After seeking professional advice we were told to remove all forms of IT until further notice, which led to me running around like a headless chicken trying to fill a sack ready for the next morning.
Fortunately, we were able to give the iPad as a birthday present in the following March and when we reflect back now he says it was the worst Christmas day that he had ever had, however he understands that it was out of our control at the time.
We always believe in treating all of our children equally, especially when it comes to presents, as I know they are observing what is in each other’s sack. Some fostering services give carers a festivity allowance, which is a great help during this expensive time of year.
Now they are older, my children all have a hamper which is so much easier and fun to shop for, but of course they all still demand an Advent Calendar!!!
It may be worth establishing where Santa would normally leave their sack when they were at home and where the child would like Santa to leave their sack in your home, as they may fear him arriving, especially if your family tradition is for Santa to leave them at the bottom of the bed.
My top tips this month is to check the contact centre’s opening times over the festive period so you can plan ahead and if you struggle with IT like me, then ask your fostering service if they have an internet awareness course available to ensure you can help children to stay as safe as possible when online. Christmas can also be a good time to review the safer care policy with your supervising social worker particularly if you will be having increased visitors to your home or hosting or any events.
Have a good one all!
Lisa has worked at FosterTalk for over 4 years and is currently in our Memberships team.
There’s not much Lisa doesn’t know about fostering and running a very busy household.
She’s been married for 25 years, has been fostering for 9 years.
With 3 birth children, an 18-year-old and 22-year-old twins as well as 2 foster children on Staying Put agreements and 1 Supported Lodgings, we’d say she’s very experienced in living with young people, experiencing the daily issues they face and providing the support they need to progress through life.