There is no 'typical' or 'standard' foster carer - each fostering household is unique and valuable.
Just as there is diversity in our children in care, our foster carers need to come from a variety of backgrounds and have different life experiences, skills and qualities to help meet the needs of our children and young people who are unable to live at home.
There are, however some basic criteria:
- To be at least 21 years-old
- To have a spare bedroom
- To be a full-time resident in the UK
- To be able to give the time to care for a child or young person, often on a full-time basis
Other factors to consider
Other factors which will be taken into account if you do decide to apply to become a foster carer will include:
- Your health - are you fit and able to foster for now and the foreseeable future?
- Your home - is the spare room big enough
- Your friends and family - are there people who can support you t foster?
- Your past - whether you have lived abroad and any previous convictions
- Your experience with children and young people - through family, work, or volunteering
Ultimately, we will want to know more about you. Do you want to work with children and young people who have often had difficult starts in life? Do you have the ability to support them, nurture them, communicate with them, advocate on their behalf and include them as part of your family? Are you willing to work as part of a team, develop your skills and qualities through training and learning and have the resilience to stay strong in times of difficulty?
Challenging the myths
People often rule themselves out of fostering, believing many of the myths...
- You can be single and foster - but you will need to demonstrate a support network
- You don't have to own your own home - but you will need to demonstrate stability
- Your sexual orientation won't prevent you from fostering
- You don't need any formal qualifications - you will complete the Skills to Foster Preparation Course which will provide you with opportunities to think about how fostering will have an impact on your family, way of life and assist you in making the decision whether or not fostering is right for you
- Your religion won't prevent you form fostering - but you will need to demonstrate how you can support a child of a different religion from yours or questions their own faith
- You can sometimes continue to work and foster, depending on the type of fostering you want to do and the needs of the children you will be caring for
Our expectation of our foster carers
Fostering can be one of the most rewarding opportunities anyone can give to a child at what can be a vulnerable time in their young life. Fostering is first and foremost about providing a home for a child and including them in your family. It’s about showing them that you care and are there for them.
Fostering involves many tasks, including day to day care and ensuring the child or young person’s needs are met. It also includes meetings with social workers and other professionals involved in a child’s life.
Foster carers are often required to facilitate contact between children and their families and have a vital role to play in helping the child or young person maintain close links to people that are important to them. Most importantly it’s about being there, having time for them and caring for them at what can be a very uncertain time in their life.
Interested in finding out more?
If you think you could welcome a child into your home we would be keen to hear from you. Join us at one of our Fostering Information Sessions. Or if you would like further information, please fill in our Online Enquiry Form, call the Fostering Team on 01454 866423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org