Everyone has different living standards at home and discussing them can be a sensitive issue. Here are some of the reasons why it is important to maintain a clean and tidy foster home.
The Fostering Service needs to adhere to the National Minimum Standards for Fostering. Section 10.2 of this guidance states that:
‘The foster home is warm, adequately furnished and decorated, is maintained to a good standard of cleanliness and hygiene and is in good order throughout. Outdoor spaces which are part of the premises are safe, secure and well maintained.’
It helps to provide a calm environment for everyone, which helps the child and the family organise their thoughts and behaviour. An environment that is cluttered or unclean can lead to a feeling of chaos affecting everyone.
It is worth considering the environment that the child originates from and how this impacts on the child’s ability to feel at home in yours. A foster home that is excessively clean and tidy might feel alien to a child, if they do not have the will or the skills to meet that standard.
Alternatively, if the child has come from a clean and tidy home themselves and the foster carers do not have the same priorities, they might feel anxious and less relaxed. There needs to be a good balance in a home that is clean, welcoming and relaxing to spend time in.
Modelling a tidy and organised environment to a child can encourage them to care for their bedroom and the communal areas in the same manner and help them develop important self-care skills as they grow up.
There will be regular visitors to the home. These will be professionals such as social workers or court guardians and independent reviewing officers. There also might be visits from the child’s family.
As a representative of the County Council, it is important to present others with a good impression of the service, also reflecting the good care that you are taking of the child.
If the foster home falls below good standards this can result in complaints being made to the fostering service, by the child, parents or other professionals. In the past, complaints have been made about animal smells, lack of care over décor, excessive clutter or insufficient hygiene.
Any complaints we receive have to be addressed with foster carers which can be very upsetting. Complaints can also detract from what otherwise may be a very positive situation and nurturing foster home and cause unnecessary discord.