From beach getaways to countryside escapes, holidays are an invaluable way for families to bond and spend quality time together. Foster children will quickly become part of your family, so it’s only natural you’ll want to include them in your next holiday.
So, can you take a foster child on holiday? While there are some unique guidelines to consider, in most cases it’s relatively straightforward to treat your foster child to a well-deserved break. To help ensure the process is as smooth and stress free as possible, we’ve put together this guide covering some important information you’ll need to know when planning foster child holidays. As well as the rules and regulations, we also offer some great tips on how to enrich the experience and ensure a great family holiday for everyone involved!
Understanding the National Minimum Standards
The Fostering Services: National Minimum Standards document is a bible for foster carers. It’s underpinned by a series of key principles designed to ensure foster children receive the best possible care. Holidays are covered in the STANDARD 7 – Leisure Activities section, with the document stating:
“Children can stay overnight, holiday with friends, or friends and relatives of their foster carer, go on school trips, subject to requirements of the care/placement plan, if foster carers consider it appropriate in individual circumstances. CRB checks are not normally sought as a precondition.”
As long as you take the child’s individual circumstances into account and are confident the trip will enrich the life of the foster child, in most cases you will be allowed to take your foster child on holiday.
Consult with your social worker
Every foster carer is assigned a supervising social worker, who will offer them ongoing support throughout your fostering journey. It’s always best to consult your supervising social worker before planning a trip, just in case you need extra permissions like approval from a birth parent or paperwork from local authorities. They will be able to guide you through the process and make sure your holiday runs as smoothly as possible.
Holiday at home or travel abroad?
Choosing your destination is one of the most exciting stages of planning a holiday, though if you’re bringing along a foster child there are some important factors to consider. For example, if your foster child has never been on a holiday before, a trip to Peak District National Park may be less intimidating than a getaway to the Canary Islands.
In other cases, the chance to experience new countries and cultures may help your foster child thrive. Brits are incredibly lucky to have Europe at their doorstep, with destinations like Mallorca, Crete and the Algarve just a short plane ride away. All are fantastic family holiday destinations and can be a great choice for foster child holidays.
So, can you take a foster child out of the country? The answer is yes, with the right planning and permissions. The key is to carefully consider the unique circumstances of your foster child and make an informed decision about whether the holiday is in their best interests. If they’re old enough, sit down for a family chat and ask them how they feel about a certain destination. If you do decide to travel abroad, be sure to collect all the necessary permissions and paperwork well in advance.
While a private bedroom for your foster child is generally preferable in most scenarios, holidays can be an exception. Accommodation is often in shared family apartments or open-plan hotel rooms, so you’ll need to consult your supervising social worker before making a booking. Airbnbs and rental homes can be a great option as they simulate the layout of a traditional home and often feature multiple bedrooms.
If you’re on a tight budget, many British organisations and accommodation providers offer free holidays for foster families. A quick Google search should bring up any current offers or competitions you may want to consider. Some foster carers also receive one-off payments designed to fund special occasions like birthdays, Christmas and family holidays.
Exploring the benefits of foster child holidays
With most of the need-to-know information covered, let’s take a look at the benefits of foster child holidays. Sure, it may require a little more planning than usual, but the rewards are incredible and it’s absolutely worth the effort.
- Holidays allow your foster child to experience the excitement of a “traditional” family holiday. This sense of excitement and anticipation can help even the shyest and most reserved foster children come out of their shells.
- Travelling gives your foster child the opportunity to discover new countries, cultures, foods, languages, landscapes and more. Every destination has its own unique benefits, whether you’re exploring colourful markets in Asia or trying haggis for the first time in Scotland.
- Holidays help to improve social skills and build overall confidence. They can be a great chance to empower your foster child with newfound independence, for example packing their own bags, looking after their boarding pass, choosing a restaurant or helping to check into a hotel. Assigning your foster child a holiday budget to spend on treats and souvenirs is also a great way to enrich their experience and give them a sense of independence.
- When children return to school, how they spent their break is often the hottest topic in the playground. Even a short holiday will help your foster child to feel included.
The final word on foster child holidays
While taking your foster child on holiday does come with some extra hurdles, with the right planning and preparation you can absolutely plan a getaway. Can you take a foster child abroad? Yes, a well-planned and carefully considered international holiday is definitely an option. The secret is to start planning early, keep your supervising social worker in the loop and understand your responsibilities as a caregiver. As long as you do that, a holiday with your foster child should be great!