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Do I really have what it takes to be a foster carer?

The skills to be a foster carer

Can I be a foster carer?

If you have been giving some thought to becoming a foster carer, it is, in all probability something to have been on your mind for some considerable time. Fostering, is not he sort of thing that people tend to rush into. That you will be interested in children and their welfare in a general sense, goes without saying. There are, sadly, some people who become interested only because of the potential financial rewards. With the advent of airbnb, people who have spare rooms have the option of earning income from them without involving a child. Such people, happily, are mostly filtered out in the recruitment and selection process.

Another disincentive for certain individuals is that there has been in the past publicity about government cutting costs by freezing allowances. It was only after an outcry, that the government announced in June there would be 15 hours of extra free childcare for foster children in England. This hardly creates a favourable impression. Foster carers are dedicated, compassionate people who have been reported as increasingly “dipping into their own pockets” to ensure that foster child in their care did not go without. This is a situation that is far from desirable – one benefit is that; when widely known, it has a deterrent effect on those considering fostering for the wrong reasons.

The country’s need for more foster carers.

A very recent report on childhood vulnerability produced by the children’s commissioner is hardly reassuring. It currently estimates that 2.1 million of England’s 11.8 million children – nearly 1 in 6 -are now living in families with risks so serious that they need help. The reasons: they are exposed to dangers which include domestic violence – as well as residing with parents experiencing problems of alcohol or drug abuse. The figures become more concerning: of the 2.1 million children, 890,000 live with parents suffering from serious mental health problems and then 825,000 live in homes where domestic violence is routine. And the group most exposed comprises 100,000 children who live alongside the so called “toxic trio” – domestic violence, mental health problems and alcohol /drug abuse. Having knowledge of this, and then feeling a sense of injustice on behalf of vulnerable children, means you will be on the way to having what it takes to be a foster carer.

Being suited to fostering also requires certain inborn traits: although it sounds simplistic, to be a successful foster carer you have to like and be interested in children and young people. But, and it is a big but, you cannot be naive – this does not go far in fostering. A well tempered altruistic attitude – combined with pragmatism is what we look out for in our applicants at Rainbow Fostering.

The sentiments of Paul Adams, fostering development consultant for CoramBAAF, are apposite: first and foremost, he emphasises is an interest in children – adding: “fostering is not for people who want an easy life, it does bring with it a whole range of challenges. We want people who can provide warmth, empathy and care for children, who can set boundaries and also people who have a good level of resilience and ‘stickability.’

You must give very careful consideration to fostering, if you are already parents with your own children. There are important issues to take into account. At Rainbow Fostering you will find our website has a special section – ‘Carers’ Info’ – this provides further information on this subject.

Just who can be a foster carer?

Rainbow urgently need people to become foster carers from all manner of backgrounds: single people, couples – married or living together – same sex couples, families – with or without children – and whatever your ethnicity, religion or cultural background, we would be eager to explore your interest in offering foster care.

It’s important to remember that people’s life skills and experience could make a hugely positive  difference to a child. We will provide training and unrivalled support. You might consider training to be a therapeutic foster carer. A career in therapeutic fostering means you can benefit from enhanced rates of remuneration.

There is plenty more information available regarding foster care with Rainbow on our website. Or, give us a call right now on 020 8427 3355. If the line is busy call our National foster care line  – 0330 311 2845.

All blogs written by Will Saunders: Rainbow Fostering – Content Management/Marketing

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