You may have a strong maternal or paternal instinct, or simply just want to make a difference to children’s lives, and perhaps this has led you to consider fostering at one time or another. However, if you have a busy schedule, your own family or a career, you may be concerned that fostering isn’t a viable option for you. This article explores fostering and whether or not it could be a good fit for you.
Who Can Become a Foster Carer?
Foster carers are caring people who are willing to share their life and home with a child or young person in need. It is an extremely humbling adventure, whether you ae considering it as a career or a philanthropic venture alongside your job.
To become a foster parent, you usually need to be over 21 years old (some agencies will allow fosterers aged over 18). You must also have a spare bedroom in your home for the child.
In addition to this, you need to go through assessments to ensure your suitability for the role. This will include your usual DBS checks for criminal records (which is undertaken with many jobs) as well as asking for references.
You will also be asked a number of questions regarding relationships, religion, experience with children etc. These assessments are undertaken both to establish suitability and to help match you with a child moving forward.
There are also some personality traits that make a good foster parent. These include empathy, patience and understanding, as some children in your care will need your support.
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What Does Being a Foster Carer Involve?
Being a foster carer is essentially taking care of a child’s needs in your own home. These needs will be both physical and emotional, as well as materialistic things like clothing them and providing them toys and experiences to help them grow. It can also be often about preparing a child to go home again, as many children are placed into care temporarily. In a nutshell, you are becoming a professional parent and giving a shot at a brighter future to a child or young person.
Many people would love to foster, but are concerned that with their current job, they would be unable to do so. The good news is that many foster carers do work as well as foster (the children you look after would have to take priority; however, you are able to work whilst they are at school, or you are between placements.) In addition to this, if you wanted to make fostering your full time career, carers are entitled to a generous fostering allowance of up to £435 per week per child. Some agencies also offer additional bonuses on top of the allowance.
In closing, fostering is a worthwhile opportunity for anyone who has a caring nature and feels they could offer love and support to a child in need. Remember, you will usually need to be over 21 years of age and also have a spare bedroom in your home.