THE BLOG

Fostering This Father's Day

18/06/2017 10:39 BST | Updated 18/06/2017 10:58 BST

Men are underrepresented in foster care and there are children and teenagers who really need strong father figures to help them grow.

My name is Asrat, I'm a male foster carer. When I became a carer I told my youngest brother about it and he said to me, when he thinks of fostering, older women or elderly retired couples come to his mind, but he never thought younger single men would be interested or involved.

I think these sorts of views are expressed because it's mistakenly believed that women are best suited to handle the challenges of fostering and naturally more caring than men. I believe men are equally capable of handling challenges and can be caring as well.

As a male foster carer since 2013, I have had challenging times which I have managed well and have also been providing very good care to my young person in care.

"Rewards and challenges are part and parcel of fostering"

I used to work at my local council before I became a foster carer. That is where I got involved with the council's fostering office working with unaccompanied asylum seekers from different parts of the world. I came to know about fostering there and had a chance to work with some social workers. It was fulfilling and satisfying being able to help others. I decided to be a full time foster carer and opened my doors to a child to give him a warm and friendly home. Fostering is rewarding when I see the positive differences I have made in a child's life after he had stayed with me. And it can also be challenging when a child, for different reasons doesn't want to engage with me and refuses to be helped.

"My supervising social worker is a phone call away for any query I may have."

Rewards and challenges are part and parcel of fostering. Fostering in my opinion is a noble profession because it involves shaping a child's life into becoming a productive and successful citizen. It requires resilience and lots of patience. Thankfully I have my agency's full support whenever I need it. I have been getting relevant training and my supervising social worker is a phone call away for any query I may have.

All in all, my fostering journey since 2013 has taught me some valuable lessons. I have learned to be more patient and understanding. If there are any men out there wondering about fostering, I encourage you to consider it seriously, you will not be disappointed.

Asrat is a foster carer with Greater London Fostering

Find out how you can get involved here - http://bit.ly/1yKDZsy

or call 0208 347 8741