If your fostered or adopted child has particular or additional needs; whether because of a disability, learning difficulty or diagnosed behavioural issue, they will need extra help to settle in to church life. It’s important to work with and talk to those who will see your child on a regular basis, such as the leaders of children’s and youth groups. The child’s social worker will be able to advise you about the boundaries of confidentiality, but agreeing simple strategies that work at home can be shared with workers at church to help them run a successful and inclusive group for your child. Be prepared to speak to your child after each session to make sure that they are happy in the group and don’t be afraid to share the child’s concerns and review any arrangements in place with workers and leaders.
Yes. If you are caring for someone else’s child outside of an ‘official’ foster or adoption placement, for example, a grandchild, you may find one of the following websites or organisations useful: Grandparents Plus (020 8981 8001) includes local, regional and national events; a regular newsletter; and help for kinship carers to find suitable trusts to approach for financial support. Family Rights Group (020 7923 2628) provides detailed information and an advice line. They offer a free consultancy support line for people thinking of setting up a local support group, with existing support groups listed on their website. They also have a discussion board, an advocacy service, and publications. The Grandparents’ Association (0845 4349585) is a national charity providing factsheets and information, a free helpline, welfare benefits service and details of local support groups.
Care for the Family’s resources are available in their online shop and their website. Other organisations that you may find helpful are Family Lives, a general parenting charity, Ginger Bread, for single parents, and Scope, for parents of disabled children. More organisations can be found on the NSPCC website.
If you are adopting a child, you will be expected to demonstrate a firm commitment to using positive forms of discipline, usually through praise, encouragement and reward based on the understanding that many children who are placed with adoptive families have already suffered abuse and that to use any form of physical chastisement would be ineffective and damaging to the child. It is against the law for foster carers to use any form of physical discipline towards children in their care. If you have children of your own; whether still at home or living independently as adults, you will be asked questions about how you would manage unacceptable behaviour from a child. It’s important to learn as much as possible about the child’s early experiences as simple things such as sending a child to their bedroom could be unhelpful if in their past the bedroom has always been a place of distress. If you have young children of your own at home you may have to rethink particular routines, expectations or consequences so that your approach is as consistent as possible for all children. For more information on positive approaches to discipline from a Christian perspective please read Help…How should I discipline my child?