Thinking of Fostering?

On the 31st March 2018 there were 75,420 looked after children in England, an increase of 4% on March 2017. There is always a need for more foster carers to support children entering the care system. In particular,  foster carers are needed to look after teenagers, disabled children, sibling groups and unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

Fostering service providers need to recruit a wide range of people to meet children and young people’s individual needs.

Wherever possible, fostering services are looking to recruit foster carers who can understand and meet the child’s heritage, ethnic origin, culture and language, and fostering services need carers from all types of backgrounds.

Please read on to find out more about what is fostering, who can foster and you can use our mapping system to find fostering services in your area.

If you are thinking of fostering, please watch the video below:

Preparing to foster guide
If you are seriously considering becoming a foster carer, Fosterline will support you through this process. We have produced a guide to help ensure that you are prepared for your initial assessment to foster. To download the guide, click here.

Newly appointed DfE fostering ambassador Debbie Douglas (from TOWIE) recently spoke about her experiences as a foster carer on GMTV. Debbie, 54, and her partner Dave Bright have fostered more than 250 children over the past 22 years, while also raising 4 biological children, including Lydia.

You can view the interview here

Time for a Career Change ?

As another Monday morning approaches, is it time to think about changing jobs or contemplate changing your career altogether?

Maybe it’s time to consider pursuing a whole new career to achieve better work life balance or by making a difference to the community.

Pursuing a career in fostering would fulfil both of these requirements. However, changing career can be a daunting prospect and you may be worried that you would have to do months of studying and examinations. You do not need any qualifications to become a foster carer – it’s your life experience, your personal skills and qualities that really matter rather than what qualifications you may or may not have.

Once initial checks have been carried out you will undergo five to seven days of training. Delivered by a social worker and foster carers, the training covers what foster carers do, how they do it, and it looks at some of the key issues you and your family need to understand in order to welcome a child into your home. The training is informal, easy to follow and interactive and is not like sitting in a stuffy classroom all day. There isn’t a scary exam at the end either!

One of the major benefits of fostering is the ability to work at home and flexibly according to the needs of your family, but what if you also work outside the home? A foster home should provide stability and security for a child. Many households have one or both parents who work, but you will need to carefully consider who would care for your foster child if s/he was sick and during the school holidays. You would also have to be available to attend meetings in regards to your foster child.

If you don’t feel you are able to foster full time, you may want to consider fostering on a part time basis. There are different types of fostering and one of them is Short Break/Respite caring, this can combine a mix of evenings, days, weekends and holiday periods, this scheme offers more flexibility to full time workers who would still like to support vulnerable children.

Becoming a foster carer

The process for assessing a person’s suitability to foster consists of two parts, which can be carried out concurrently, but the information required in stage 1 must be obtained as soon as possible  and the decision made about suitability made within 10 working days of all the information required at stage 1 being received. If the fostering service’s decision maker decides that the applicant is unsuitable to foster at stage 1, he/she must write to the applicant to inform him/her of the reasons for their decision. The applicant does not have the right of appeal to the Independent Review Mechanism at stage 1, but may make a complaint to the fostering service if they are unhappy about the way in which their application has been handled.

If your application proceeds to Stage 2,  a full assessment will be carried out and this can take 6 to 8 months to complete. A report will then be presented to the fostering panel and agency decision maker, and hopefully you will then be approved to foster.  If the applicant is considered not suitable to foster, he or she should be informed in writing of the reasons and that they may, within 28 days, seek a review of this determination either by the  Independent Review Mechanism or the fostering service themselves.

A useful flow chart illustrating the 2 Stage process can be found here.

To find out more about becoming a foster carer, phone Fosterline on 0800 040 7675 to speak to one of our advisors about pursuing a worthwhile career choice giving love and support to children in need of help. Click here to find out more on becoming a foster carer.

If you would like to watch this film, made in partnership with the BBC Outreach volunteer initiative, shares the stories and experiences of real foster carers giving a true insight – the challenges and the rewards – of what it is like to foster. The film was provided by BAAF, now called CoramBAAF Adpoption & Fostering Academy:

BAAF fostering vidoe image

A need for Black Minority Ethnic (BME) foster carers
Research has shown that Black and minority ethnic children are over-represented in the care system in relation to the numbers of minority ethnic children in the general population.  In addition, in many areas of the UK there is a shortage of foster carers with the same cultural or ethnic background as these children and consequently they will often be placed with foster carers from a different cultural, religious or ethnic background. Find out more here.

 A need for Muslim foster carers
There are currently more Muslim children looked after by the local authority than there are Muslim foster carers in England. Muslim children in England are from the most diverse of backgrounds, ranging from those that have ancestry in the highlands of Scotland to those from ethnic backgrounds spanning right across the globe. Like all children they deserve and have the right to be cared for in a culturally and religiously sensitive manner. Find out more here.

A need for male foster carers
Yes, men can foster, even single men! Many young people entering the looked-after system have come from a single parent family with no consistent male role model, and many benefit enormously from the mentoring, care and nurturing that a male carer can provide. Find out more here.

Books on foster care
If you’re looking for resources on foster care, Jessica Kingsley Publishers has a dedicated Fostering section. Click on this link to buy their books.

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