Throughout the exciting and challenging times in my nine year career as a foster carer, I have spoken with many carers and professionals sharing information, knowledge and experience about the world of fostering. These discussions have highlighted issues, anxieties, problems and frustrations but also possibilities, developments and opportunities.
As foster carers, the challenges we face are huge as we embrace the changes that fostering brings. We strive to be inclusive and supportive to the young people in our care and sometimes there are frustrations and even tears as we learn and develop into our role. Often it can feel that it is all too difficult and that support for us as individual carers is missing. For example, a place where it is safe to admit to the stresses and to gain comfort in the knowledge that we are not alone in our feelings and that there are ways to feel better about ourselves and our role as foster carers.
Care is a vital part of our child protection system and this Programme offers a new model of caring for the carers. It offers a unique and tailored programme of support for foster carers that understands the challenges, provides a facilitated space to explore those challenges and a chance to take a step back and find solutions. We have identified the need to help Foster Carers feel valued and supported. The overall objective of the Programme is to enhance the well being of Foster Carers in a way that will support them in continuing to carry out their very important role and to make the role of foster caring more sustainable and prevent placement breakdown, which is stressful for the children, their carers and social workers.
At Rangeview we provide a confidential, safe, non judgmental space for the participants to explore and learn about themselves and others as they engage in facilitated group activities which are fun and motivational. This model of working is particularly helpful with participants who find room based activities intimidating and it offers an opportunity to take part in a group process that will help them direct change in their lives, feel more inspired and stretch their thinking,
Each workshop will be held at Rangeview, which provides a relaxing environment up on the hills overlooking the Mourne Mountains.
How Can Equine Facilitated Coaching Support Foster Parents?
Group Setting Support Work.
There are huge benefits to group work and these workshops are essentially a group process that brings about a journey of profound personal change. All the exercises and materials have been designed to give foster parents the best possible support through their own individual journey. Participants benefit from the strengths, experiences and contributions of others in a similar situation. Together they create a positive support environment for the other participants as well as themselves. The focus is on participation and practical experience rather than lecture or training with numerous opportunities to be coached and feel supported.
Laughter happens in group work and laughter is one of the most powerful tools – it is the solvent of negative emotions. It relaxes us and helps to open the mind to new experiences without any fear of not knowing or understanding what is going on. Each session is structured so that the parents feel they have time out from their busy lives to really dedicate to themselves, and that they are treated and honoured and have fun at the same time.
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