As another working day approaches, is it time to think about changing your job or starting a new one if you have been out of a work environment for a while? Maybe it’s time to consider pursuing a whole new career to achieve a better work life balance and make 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. Well, rest assured, you don’t need any qualifications to become a foster carer – it’s your life experience, your personal skills and qualities and your ability to relate to children and young people that matter more than any qualifications you may or may not have.
One of the major benefits of fostering is the ability to work at home, but what if you also work outside the home? A foster home needs to provide stability and security for a child, so if you or your partner (if you have one) also work outside the home, 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 need to be available to attend meetings, support groups and training with regard to your fostering career.
Many single people foster very successfully, you don’t need to be married or in a relationship to foster. 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.
If you are thinking of fostering but would like to know more before proceeding, read our useful information or speak to one of our friendly fostering advisors who will be able to answer all your questions objectively and with no pressure.
Fostering is a way of providing a nurturing and safe environment for somebody else’s child in your own home when they are unable to live with their birth family.
When families foster, they need to provide a safe, secure and stable environment so that children and young people can recover from any potential traumas they have experienced. Foster care is about giving children and young people the opportunities to thrive and reach their full potential.
There are a variety of reasons why some children can’t remain with their birth families. Reasons include: if the child has suffered abuse or neglect; their parents are substance or alcohol dependent; there is domestic violence within the family, mental health issues, or there has been a family breakdown or relationship difficulties.
A foster family will give children and young people the opportunity to experience a positive and rewarding family life which enables them to rebuild their trust in adults, and sometimes to return home safely once the issues have been addressed.
The time that a child spends in foster care varies depending on the reasons for coming into care. Sometimes children stay for a few days, some for months and others for many years, until they are adults. About 40% of children and young people return home to live with their own families within six months of living away.
However, there are some children and young people that need longer term support. This can be provided through long term fostering, adoption, kinship foster placements, special guardianship, residential care or living independently.
On the 31st March 2018 there were 75,420 looked after children in England, with 75% of those children placed with foster carers. There is always a need for more foster carers to support children coming into care, especially for teenagers, disabled children, sibling groups and unaccompanied asylum seeking children.
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.
With over 75,000 children and young people in the care of Local Authorities at any one time and the total number of children and young people who are looked after by the state in any year rising to approximately 300,000, there is always a need for more foster carers.
More foster carers are needed to ensure that children and young people who need foster homes have an opportunity to benefit from living within a stable, safe and nurturing family environment. You don’t need to have any particular academic or vocational qualifications, but having experience of caring for or working with children or young people really helps.
At Fosterline we believe that taking care of children and young people who cannot live with their own families is a very special job. Making a positive difference in the life of a child or young person is wonderful and very rewarding, but it can also be very challenging and demanding.
Foster carers need to work in partnership with a range of people who are involved in the child or young person’s life, this often includes; the birth parents, extended family members, Social workers, health workers, staff within education and a range of other professionals.
Fostering is a huge commitment. It will have an impact on you and your whole family. Therefore, it is vitally important to find out as much as you can and take time to discuss the possibility with all of your family so that you can make the right choice at the right time for the right reason.
Anyone over the age of 21, who is a British citizen or has the right to reside in the UK, and who does not have a criminal record, can apply to be a foster carer. You will need a suitable home environment with a secure tenancy or to own your own home. You will need a spare bedroom for a foster child as they cannot share a room, except with a same sex sibling.
Black and minority ethnic children and young people are over-represented in care so more foster carers are needed from Black, Asian and other ethnic backgrounds to ensure that the child’s cultural and religious needs can be appropriately met.
Foster carers can be single, married, in a same sex relationship, male, female or trans. What matters most is the ability to care for vulnerable children and young people and offer them a stable family life.
You do not need to have had children of your own, but experience of working with children would be an advantage. If you are not sure whether or not you could foster, why not take our quick quiz and find out – you may be surprised!
Test your eligibility to foster take this quick survey.
Do you need more information about fostering? Call us and discuss your next steps to deciding whether you could make a difference to a child’s life by becoming a foster carer.
Fosterline will answer your questions honestly and objectively. We won’t pressurise you into making a decision but just clarify your options and next steps. What do you have to lose?