Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a foster carer? Well, the good news is that you don’t have to be a superhero, you just need passion and dedication to the role. If you want to look after children in your home and give your support to a situation that really needs it, there is a strong possibility that this role is the one for you. Read on to find out more about it.
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Foster Carers Need to Be Over 21
Whether you work with a private agency like fosterplus.co.uk or the local authority, you must be at least 21 years old. Anyone under this age would be classed as too young to foster or look after a child in the way an agency or authority would need them to.
A Spare Bedroom Is Non-Negotiable
When fostering, it is a non-negotiable requirement to have a spare bedroom in your house and some level of stability. So, you don’t have to own your home, but you do need enough space for a child to live with you. Foster children do not need their own bathroom and they will be expected to share the family home facilities as well.
No Major Criminal Convictions
Foster carers should have no major criminal convictions, and this will be checked by the DBS service. Agencies have an obligation to make sure all of their carers are safe for the children in their network. The homes should be safe too, and any adult that doesn’t fit these criteria won’t be able to carry on through the application.
Thinking About Empathy
Alongside the practical requirements, a foster carer needs to have strong empathy skills. This will help them get to know the young people they are going to look after and build a meaningful connection when the time is right. Empathy helps you to understand what other people are going through and be intune with strong emotions in the home environment. This will shape the way you care and make you a super role model for the children too.
Are you a strong communicator? If this is one of your weaker areas, then it will be useful to work on this kind of skill before you become an active carer. The reasons behind this are simple enough. First up, you will be doing lots of talking and relationship building at home with the foster children you look after. There will also be various meetings with your support team, school, and even healthcare providers where you need the right level of confidence to speak up and get results.
Do You Have the Time to Give?
When you foster a child, they come and live with you. They will be in your home all day and all night, and this is a big factor to consider. It will definitely change your routine, and some people will be able to handle this better than others. Make sure you have the hours to give before committing to the process.
So, could you be a foster carer? Only you can answer this question. The thoughts above are a great place to start exploring what it would mean for your life!