Fostering is a way to offer stability and security within a family home for children and young people who are not able to be looked after by their own families. A large number of the children and young people who are looked after away from home in the UK live with foster families. Fostering is often a temporary arrangement and children return to their own families. For those who cannot, long term foster placements are invaluable. Many of the children and young people have experienced considerable upheaval in their lives; leaving their families will be a difficult experience for them and they will need your support to settle. Fostering is not an easy career, but it can be a hugely rewarding experience.
Foster carers are people who look after these children within their own family homes. Foster carers are child care experts working alongside a supportive team of professionals providing children with the highest standard of care. A career as a foster carer can be short term or long term. You choose the service you want to provide which suits your family circumstances and the income you are looking to receive.
There are many reasons why people decide to foster but most people share a similar aim: to offer a stable and nurturing home to a child who isn’t able to live with their own family.
Fostering may be something that you have thought about for many years before actually making the first step toward it.
Some are already parents, feel they are doing a good job with their own children and see no reason why they couldn’t be positive role models for foster children.
Some have adult children who have left home, have an ’empty nest’ and miss the challenge of parenting.
Some have not got children of their own but feel they have got time, patience, stability and security to give to children and young people who cannot live with their own families.
Many foster carers say they wish to give something back to their community by supporting those who are vulnerable. Whatever the reason, fostering can be a really life changing and rewarding experience. Complete our enquiry form and begin your journey today!
Who can foster?
There is no ‘perfect example’ of a foster carer; foster carers are ‘ordinary people’ of all ages and backgrounds who have their own personal set of values, skills and life experiences. Fostering agencies look for people from every type of background and with different life experiences to provide the diversity they need to meet the needs of children in foster care.
There are some basic requirements:
• be physically and mentally fit to care for a child
• have a spare room for a foster child to use
• be over the age of 21
Some myths about foster caring:
You need to be married and own your own home:
This isn’t true! Foster carers can be married or living together, single, divorced, widowed, in a same sex relationship, be working or unemployed, own a home or rent.
You need experience of working with children:
Having some child care experience is desirable but by no means essential. Some Foster carers will have a great deal of experience with children; others will have little or none. What is more important is that Foster carers should have some life experience to draw on and be fully committed to supporting and nurturing the child they are looking after.
If you have a spare bedroom and time to dedicate to a child you can apply to become a foster carer.