- WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A VOLUNTEER BEFRIENDER AND IS TRAINING PROVIDED?
Befriending usually involves weekly / regular engagement with the foster child by bringing them out for playdates and weekend outings (E.g., to parks, malls, Zoo etc). It can also include teaching the child a new skill such as playing a music instrument. Befrienders play a crucial role in shaping mindset and instilling positive values for the child. It also improves the child’s social skills, and increases confidence when interacting with others.
Besides benefitting the foster child, befriending gives the foster parents short respite and break from caring for the foster child. For certain foster families, this is important as it gives time and space for the foster parent to focus on younger children at home.
If weekly commitment is a concern, befrienders can also choose to meet the foster child monthly and perhaps for a longer duration.
The commitment level for a befriender should be at least 1 year so as to allow the child to get acquainted and familiarise himself / herself with the befriender. For starters, the location for outings can be nearer to the home of the foster child and progress further over time.
Volunteers need to complete the screening process before they will be deployed. Training will be covered as part of the volunteer induction process.