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Military service leavers - who's thought about fostering?

Posted: 23/05/2014
By: JoDennis
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Being in the Military teaches you many qualities - self-discipline, patience, communications, leadership and man-management to name a few... There are lots of ways these skills can transfer to civvy street, but who's considered fostering as one of them?

Leaving the armed forces to find employment is tough - and an even bigger challenge with national unemployment levels reaching their highest over the last decade. While there are a wealth of career paths open to servicemen and women (and their partners), fostering vulnerable children and young people is often overlooked.

Transferrable skills
While fostering is far removed from a life on the frontline, it can set military families up with the transferrable skills they need to offer a loving, secure home to really troubled children.

Having already learned how to:

- triumph over adversity
- achieve objectives against all odds
- think on their feet and work as a team
- diffuse difficult situations
- adopt sensitivity and diplomacy
- use practical ways to manage behaviours

...training and serving in the forces is often a perfect foundation for a caring role - in particular, helping to guide older children and teenagers through life choices and preparing them for adulthood.

Challenges and rewards
Fostering is tough and challenging - young people at times can display extreme behaviours and emotions related to loss, change and negative parenting.

They may have experienced extreme neglect, deprivation, physical, emotional or sexual abuse in their short lives already. And then they have to go and live with total strangers...

For every challenge, however, the reward is knowing that you've played a part in helping that child experience a safe environment where they feel supported and listened to. One that helps them to recover from their experiences and develop a positive sense of themselves.

Fighting for their rights
For highly-skilled former members of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, mentoring young people to develop key skills, confidence and motivation is second nature.

Being in the army is all about supporting one another; working as a team and looking out for each others' backs. Being a foster carer works on the same principles.

Foster carers are strong advocates for the young people they care for; always on their side, fighting for their rights and making sure their views are heard. It's also about protecting young people, so that they can recover from trauma and thrive and succeed in all aspects of life.

Permanent base
For many families, serving in the forces means living in married quarters (often just big enough for the family members you have), moving to different bases all over the world, and being away for months at a time.

While this transient lifestyle would not be suitable for fostering, for ex-servicemen and women with a permanent base to call home it most definitely would.

As a future career option, being a foster carer can offer ex-military families the opportunity for a dual income and long term employment working from home... As well as the chance to make an amazing difference to the lives of vulnerable children who really need it.

What's not to think about?
If you're thinking about becoming a foster carer, you can talk to our friendly, helpful team at Kasper. We're here to answer any questions you may have, before deciding whether fostering is right for you. Get in touch on 01227 275985 for an informal chat.