Men Who Foster
The role of a foster carer can be both extremely rewarding and at the same time extremely challenging. Being a male foster carer has, arguably, even more challenges.
Women are traditionally seen as the care-givers. Often, a man who devotes his life to caring for children is viewed with suspicion.
Every foster carer has unique skills, experiences and abilities that they bring to the fostering task, regardless of gender. However, a male foster carer will need to think carefully about the role he plays in caring for children, particularly those who have had a negative experience with men in the past.
Many young people entering the looked-after system have come from a single parent family with no consistent male role model, and many benefit enormously from the mentoring, care and nurturing that a male carer can provide.
All foster carers need to think about safer caring issues, and for male foster carers this can be a particularly challenging aspect of the role.
How can you balance the need to protect yourself alongside the need to provide care to those you foster?
The answer lies in good training and support from your fostering service. They should provide you with targeted training such as “Men who Foster” and provide a men’s support group so that you can meet regularly with other male foster cares for support and to exchange tips and ideas.
Assessment, support, training and good matching will be especially important if you intend to foster as a single male carer, or as the main carer in a couple.
Discuss all of these issues thoroughly with your fostering service, and ensure that you receive the right level of support for you and your placement, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.