Fostering is often misunderstood. Read on for the facts.
Fostering is frequently misunderstood. Many people don’t realise that it is as much a career choice as anything else. It often gets banded together with adoption, as people just assume that fostering is simply a temporary version of adoption, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. There is currently a shortage of foster carers in the UK, so it is important that people understand the requirements as they might be holding back from applying because they have the wrong information. Here are four things you probably didn’t know about fostering...
Foster carers get paid
Many people shy away from talking about the fostering allowance because they worry it sounds insensitive to talk about being paid to look after children. Simply put, if the children in need of care weren’t with foster homes then they would have to be cared for in a children’s home. These homes cost far more money to run, and so the government pays individuals willing to take in these children and give them a more steady family experience. Living in a foster home is far better for the child than living in a children’s home, so you will be helping to contribute to the child’s well-being.
There is no upper age limit
Fostering is most often associated with empty nesters and retirement age couples, but there is no upper age limit to be considered to become a foster carer. The only age limit is that you are over 21 when you apply. Provided you have the energy and mobility to care for a child, then each application will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Single people or couples are welcome to apply, as are same-sex couples.
Training is available
No one expects you to become an expert in foster care overnight, which is why all foster carers will be expected to undergo training. Whether you’re working with a local authority or a private fostering agency, you will be given access to training that will help you to develop essential skills. Experienced foster carers are an asset to the system and their expertise will often be called on during court hearings to advise on what is best for a child.
You don’t have to be a parent
Having another child in the household can help to provide a stable environment for a foster child but you don’t have to be a parent in order to become a foster carer. Providing you can offer a safe, secure and happy home environment, then having children isn’t a prerequisite to becoming a foster carer. Some people might be hesitant to apply as they feel they lack the parenting experience required to be a foster carer but provided you have some experience with children, you will be able to learn the necessary skills.