Going on holiday is a normal thing for families to do, but how do you navigate this as a foster carer? Whether you have your own children or not, there are a few protocols to follow if you want to go on holiday with a foster child. This post sheds some light on the topic below.
Check in with Your Agency
Every foster carer in the country must seek permission from their agency before they take a child on holiday with them. Agencies like Foster Care Associates have strict rules to follow on this topic, and it is a foster carer’s responsibility to check in and do what needs to be done. The social worker team might need to seek permission from a birth family or the local authority before you are allowed to jet off, so it is a necessary hoop to jump through.
While it is the adults in the household that make big decisions about where you will go and what the budget is for a holiday, involving the children in these choices is a positive idea. This will help foster children to feel a part of the process and encourage them to stay in control where they are likely to be experiencing anxiety.
Don’t forget, it will be a big deal for them to go away with you when you are still building trust in the relationship. So, anything you can do should be a top priority!
Make an Itinerary
Once plans have been finalised, the next step is to create an itinerary for your foster children (and your own children too, if relevant). This will look like a piece of paper or phone note where they can see what you will be doing and where you are going.
They can check in with this whenever they need to, so they know what to expect, and nothing comes as a surprise.
📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out Plan Your Trip Like a Pro: Crafting the Perfect Travel Itinerary
Have a Talk About Boundaries
Going away is a whole new playing field to navigate. This means you will need to reaffirm boundaries with any young person in your house before you get there. A clear conversation around expectations is great and will do a lot for both their comfort and your peace of mind.
Create Some Fun Bonding Time Before You Go
A foster carer must feel confident that they can take care of a young person in a different environment to their home. A big part of this will be putting in the hours for bonding time with your foster child in the run-up to the holiday.
Go shopping and buy some vacation outfits together or sit down and look at some fun activities you might do during the time away. This will not only build trust but boost your relationship as well.
Focus on the Travelling Time
More often than not, the actual travelling to a new place will be the biggest hurdle to jump over. You can put so many things in place to make it easier like entertainment, journey stops, and lots of snacks!
Going on holiday is a great thing to do for foster families. This time is special and creates fantastic memories. Just remember to plan everything in advance and keep the agency involved too.
Travel Tips for Foster Carers: Wrap Up
Navigating holidays as a foster carer involves a mix of planning, communication, and consideration for the unique needs of foster children. Seeking permission from the agency is the first crucial step, and ensuring adherence to specific rules and protocols.
Also, involving foster children in the decision-making process, such as planning destinations and budgets, fosters a sense of inclusion and control, vital for those grappling with anxiety or trust issues.
Creating a detailed itinerary and discussing boundaries beforehand helps foster children understand and anticipate the upcoming experience, reducing surprises and potential stress. And investing time in bonding activities before the trip, such as shopping for vacation outfits or exploring potential activities, strengthens the caregiver-child relationship, fostering trust.
Recognizing the challenges associated with travel, especially during the journey itself, emphasizes the need for thoughtful preparations—entertainment, frequent stops, and ample snacks can ease the difficulties of transitioning to a new environment.
Overall, holiday experiences for foster families are not only special but also hold the potential to create lasting, positive memories. The key lies in meticulous planning, communication, and a collaborative approach that ensures both the well-being and enjoyment of all involved parties. Remember, involving the agency throughout the process is essential for a smooth and supported travel experience.
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Last Updated on January 10, 2024