We get a great many inquiries about what skills you need to foster. As well as the expectations and agency might have if you want to foster a child or young person. This is part 1 of a regular feature highlighting some of the more commonly asked questions we receive. We hope it proves insightful.
Q) Does my age affect whether I can foster?
There is a lot of confusion around age: some people think they are too old or too young. What matters most is that you are able to meet the needs of a child or young person. The law says you can foster from the age of 18. To foster with Rainbow, you would need to be a very special applicant were you to be under the age of 25. There is no upper age limit if you want to foster. It should be remembered that as part of the assessment a medical will be required.
Q) How long will it take for me to become approved to foster?
When you make that first enquiry, on average, it takes between four to six months to become a foster carer. You will be sent an application form which, when returned starts the application process. We will ask you to attend an introductory course – ‘Skills to Foster’ – during this period, we take up references and the time this takes can vary. It is very unusual for an application process to be completed in under three months. We ensure that our foster carers feel supported and confident before receiving a placement – and everybody is different. This is another reason the assessment process can vary from individual to individual.
Q) How much space does a child need?
To care for a child, you must have a spare bedroom solely for a child or young person. It must have adequate storage space for their possessions.
Q) Do my religious beliefs affect whether I can foster or not?
We actively encourage people from all ethnicities and cultural backgrounds to foster children and young people. This helps us to match children to placements that will respect and understand their needs and traditions.
Q) Can I choose who I foster?
At Rainbow we pride ourselves on finding the best placement matches and we we always work hard to work within your preferences. We will never pressure you to take a placement, we want our carers to only accept children that they feel comfortable with. We do approach carers with emergency foster placements; these are where a child or young person suddenly finds that they need to be accommodated, but, again there is no pressure to take a child. Our goal is always for the best outcomes for our foster carers and young people.
Q) Can I foster if I don’t drive?
You don’t have to be able to drive, but fostering will involve taking a child to school or possibly to contact meetings. As a foster care, you will be asked to attend training and meetings so whilst public transport is available, careful thought will be required as to whether this will be adequate for you.
Q) Will training be given?
After you have applied and your assessment to be a carer has started, training will be available. We will support you throughout your career as a foster carer so you can do the best possible job and feel the greatest sense of reward. Our training is given by respected industry experts. Along the way, there are plenty of opportunities to meet with experienced
Q) Will I have to be trained in First Aid to foster?
You do not have to be trained in first aid before you apply. We do ask that all our foster carers complete a first aid course to be a foster carer.
Q) Can I be a foster carer if I smoke?
There are certain restrictions on smoking: Children that are exposed to secondhand smoke have more days of school and there is evidence available that over the long term, it can lead to harm such as respiratory conditions and poorer lung function. Although there is no current national policy position on smoking and foster care, at Rainbow Fostering we expect all our children to be cared for in a smoke free environment.
Q) Can I foster if I am already employed?
Fostering is a rewarding job, but it can be challenging: our carers are expected to be highly dedicated and have a professional level of motivation. at Rainbow we usually require that one foster carer is at home full time or that their work pattern is flexible enough to permit them to offer a consistently high standard of care that meets the needs of the child or young person.
Q) Can I still foster if I have a baby?
having your own baby would not prevent you from fostering but if you already have a child under the age of two, there would be certain restrictions v
We know that fostering is challenging and can be unpredictable. You are never expected to
have to cope alone. We are a community at Rainbow and we never lose sight of that fact and
so are always on hand. You will always have access to a social worker available 24/7 to
provide support. This is as well as the day to day support that will always be available to you
from your supervising social worker.
Q) Can I be a carer if I am a single person?
You can foster if you are single. Again, we look at your situation – as everyone is different. We have to be satisfied that you can spend the time to meet the needs of the child or young person that you are looking after.
Our ‘Rainbow Rewards’ are worth looking into
Do you have a friend perhaps thinking of fostering children? Many people have a preference for fostering babies, or fostering children. But wherever your interest lies, Rainbow makes available quality fostering services – including support twenty four hours a day. Currently we will be happy to pay you £500 if you refer someone to our agency. The bonus will be given once that person has been approved and received their first placement from us. Remember: any foster carer giving thought to transferring over to Rainbow Fostering Services can receive a generous bonus under our scheme. Call our fostering recruitment team on 020 8427 3355 to discuss being a part of our Rainbow community.
Our latest fostering news is out!
The Rainbow ‘Read All About It’ news section to be found on our website is there for anyone interested in fostering: be in the know about issues to do with fostering: visit http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK For our latest headlines.
And the good news at the end of this particular rainbow…if you are a carer remember to support our ongoing literacy campaign as it continues to attract twitter followers