Becoming a foster carer is a decision that requires a lot of serious thought. That’s because when you care for a foster child, you are making a big impact on that child’s life, and it is a tremendous responsibility. Is foster care hard? It can be, but it’s also very rewarding. Some of the questions you should ask before deciding whether being a foster carer are soul searching questions about your own capacity and abilities. Others, though, are practical questions. While only you can truly answer the first type of questions, we have some information to help with the second. Here, we will address some questions frequently asked by people beginning the foster care journey.
Is foster caring challenging?
It certainly can be. While you can foster as a single adult, if you decide to bring a foster child into your family, it can have a massive impact on everyone in your household. In this case, it needs to be a family decision because you and your spouse will not be the only ones spending time with the foster child. Your children will have to share their space, their toys, their friends, and their parents with a new person, and that can be a big ask. What’s more, foster children often come from very difficult situations, and may have behavioural issues. Still, being a foster family is a very rewarding experience, and can be one of the most meaningful things you ever do as a family. You will need to consider factors like the age of your children when deciding the age of children that you would like to foster, and determine whether you are in a good place in your life to foster. If you are moving home or renovating your house, for example, it is better to wait until you are settled before you apply to foster.
Is it difficult to become a foster parent?
There is a process you must go through to become a foster parent, and it can be complicated, but it is not too difficult. To meet the fostering criteria at Acorn Fostering Services, a person must be at least 25 years old, and your life experience, level of maturity, personality, confidence, self-esteem, and ability to reflect will be considered. If you are an older adult, your approval will depend on your physical and mental health, energy, strength, and support system. If you seem to be good candidate (or both you and your spouse, if you live together), you will need to go through training, have a background check, a medical examination, and a home inspection, to make sure you and your home are suitable to foster a child. The fostering agency will want to discuss your lifestyle with you, to determine whether you are a suitable foster candidate. There are several different factors that can weigh on the decision about whether you should be a foster carer.
- If you have a child with disabilities, you will need to be prepared to discuss how you will balance the needs of your child and the foster child.
- If you are recently married or in a new relationship, the agency will be likely to suggest that you wait for at least two years before committing to foster care.
- Those who are pregnant or undergoing fertility treatment are often advised to concentrate on their own families for now and consider fostering later.
- Religious families should consider how they will handle a child whose background differs from their own and who may have different beliefs.
- It is recommended that the main carer should not have a job outside the home, or have a very flexible job, in order to devote the majority of available time and energy to foster caring.
- Smokers who want to foster must commit to not smoking inside or around small children. Smokers will only be approved for children aged 5 or over.
- If you have pets, they will need to be assessed to determine whether they are a good fit for foster care.
- People with a criminal record are not immediately disqualified to be foster parents, but the type of offences and circumstance must be honestly revealed so that the fostering agency can make an informed decision.
- Sexual orientation and marital status do not interfere with a person’s ability to foster, assuming the person is well-qualified.
What are the roles and responsibilities of a foster carer?
A foster carer provides support and a secure, loving environment to children of varying ages, ethnicities, races, and religions. Some placements are brief, while others are lengthy, A foster carer must provide for the child’s needs, including food, shelter, clothing, transportation to school and appointments, and anything else the child needs to thrive. In some cases, children will need professional care for physical or mental issues, and it is the responsibility of the foster carer to see that these are provided.
What allowances will I receive as a foster carer?
A foster carer receives an allowance to pay for the needs of the foster child and to reward the carer for the time, space, energy, and care invested in the child. The amount varies based on the child’s age and needs and the circumstances of the foster arrangement.
Apply today to become a Foster Carer
Are you interested in becoming a foster carer? At Acorn Fostering Services, we provide good quality foster placements for children and young people, and we are always looking for foster carers who can offer children sensitivity and care. An Ofsted approved and registered independent fostering agency, we are based in Leicester and provide fostering agency services throughout the East and West Midlands and Northern Counties. If you think you have the life experience and qualities that would help you care for children of all types and you want to learn more about foster caring, call us on 0116 251 3550 or email us today.