Depending on your circumstances you can sometimes foster and continue to work. Can you foster? Can you change lives? Take our quick survey.
If you wish to continue to work it would possibly affect the type of fostering you would be approved for. Generally you or your partner (if fostering as a couple) would be expected to give up work if you were caring for a specific age group such as very young children and babies as they will require specialist care.
You would also need to be flexible and have the ability to attend meetings and appointments at short notice. You may be able to continue your current employment if you were to foster older, school-age children and combine your work outside of the home with their care (a possible part time basis or even working from home). Each fostering service provider will have a view on expected working commitments.
Many people manage to successfully combine a job with their responsibilities as a foster carer, and if this is what you want to do you should not let it prevent you from applying to foster.
Deborah and James explain how they combine working and fostering.
We are Deborah and James Woodward, and we have been fostering for two years now. We work as a team to care for our two foster children who are siblings aged 10. Deborah works as a school teacher and works typical hours of 8:30-4:30pm Monday to Friday. I am the primary carer for the boys and work from home as a book keeper with part time hours 10am until 1pm. This fits around the boys’ school hours and I am able to do the school runs both morning and afternoon and be present with them after school. I have the flexibility to attend medical appointments and school meetings for the boys and Deborah joins me for the Looked After Children’s review meetings which are usually held after 4pm at our home.
We have found that working has not been a barrier to foster for us, but appreciate the importance of being flexible in our working arrangements to accommodate the needs of the children in our care. We have one son of our own who is a similar age to his foster siblings at 11 years old. All the boys enjoy spending time together and we see our foster children as very much a part of our family. We go on holidays together and take the boys with us to family gatherings and functions. As far as we are concerned the boys are treated the same as our son and that includes house rules so there is an equal expectation that the boys keep their rooms tidy, complete all their homework from school and have equal access to leisure activities.
As a family we enjoy camping and outdoor pursuits, our foster children come along with us and we enjoy teaching the boy’s life skills as we are aware of how important it is for children to be able to cook, clean, and maintain social relationships.
We must admit when we first applied for fostering we were worried about not being seen as suitable because of our work commitments but having spoken at length with our assessing social worker, they felt we had the right attitude towards fostering and being flexible in our approach we were able to offer a stable and loving home.
I guess our message to other potential carers who are currently working, is ‘don’t be afraid to ask’. We have spoken with Fosterline advisors a couple of times since taking the plunge, just to make sure we were doing the right thing for us as a family and to clarify some concerns we had. We found the advisors were clear, knowledgeable and informative and helped give us the courage to understand and speak up for the children in our care.
We first called Fosterline before we began the assessment process. They directed us to where we could identify Fostering Service Providers within our area both, Local Authority and Independent agencies by accessing the mapping tool on Fosterline’s website. This was a great help initially because we didn’t know who to contact or where the agencies were located.
We found the process of assessment quite in depth but we were open and honest from day one about our work commitments and it did not impact on the assessment negatively as we originally thought it might have. It’s true to life that many parents work and therefore being placed in a family of working parents is a reality that many birth children live.
This confirmed to us that it doesn’t matter who you are as long as you can offer a space in your home to help vulnerable children and be available for them, you are welcome to apply to foster. We didn’t think that a working couple like us would be able to foster but you can. We have cared for our two boys in long term placements for the past two years and we love what we do. Fostering has enriched our lives and given us the opportunity to learn and grow as parents. Our son has benefitted by having two foster brothers he can share his life with and our family feels more whole.
We hope that our story encourages more working people to come forward as foster carers. You don’t need to be a stay at home parent, just be flexible in your work arrangements although it will have an impact on the age of the children you can foster. You need to show that you can be available for the child just as you would be for your own children. All you need is a big heart, a commitment to be there for your foster children and a positive attitude. The rewards are so vast, we would never wish to stop fostering, it has brought us so much joy.
Can you foster? Can you change lives?
There is a constant need for foster carers with a shortfall of around 9,000 in this year alone.
Don’t delay; start the process today.
Find out if you fit the criteria to foster by completing our quick online survey. (only 11 tick box questions)
Call Fosterline in confidence to find out more about becoming a foster carer on 0800 040 7675. Qualified Fosterline Advisers are available 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.