Traditionally we see fostering as a role primarily for females with the male taking very much a back seat role. However, there are many men who are interested in a career as a single foster carer or main carer within a couple and consider themselves to have the skills required to offer stability and security to a child in care. Sadly, however, men who choose to become foster carers are viewed with suspicion and often face additional challenges to those already presented by the role.
Many young people in the care system have come from a family without a consistent role model or one where their experience of males has been largely negative and this can create additional challenges for male foster carers. However, it is also true that many young people will benefit hugely from the care and support a positive male role model can offer.
Fostering Agencies welcome applications from male foster carers and recognise that all applicants whether male of female bring unique skills and experience to the role and diversity is of vital importance when it comes to finding stable and secure placements for the thousands of children in care and looking for a foster family.
All foster carers, of either gender need to consider safe practice and balance the need to protect themselves alongside the need to provide a high standard of care for the children/ young people they foster.
How can this be done?
The assessment process will be an opportunity to discuss and explore these issues with your chosen Fostering Agency. Once approved, it will be vital that you receive continued training and support along with a careful matching of potential foster placements to minimise obstacles to the placement. These principles however, apply to all foster carers as children will have a multitude of issues to contend with not limited to issues with male role models. The main thing is…don’t be afraid to discuss your concerns and ask for help!
The Fostering Network have produced a useful guide for men who foster which is free to download