Who can foster
People often decide they cannot foster without finding out some basic information. There is no one typical foster carer – and becoming one is not difficult. People who become foster carers come from a whole variety of different backgrounds. This means they bring a huge range of different work and life experiences to the world of fostering. Everyone who applies will be asked to attend a special training course called ‘Skills to Foster’. This is an introduction to the many different aspects of fostering children and young people. There is plenty of ongoing training, as well as support so that anyone becoming a carer will develop the skills needed to meet the needs of children coming into care. There are different choices within fostering – some people care for just one child, others look after sibling groups – whilst some foster carers specialise in caring for a disabled child. Visit our ‘Placement Types’ section on the website for a detailed list and explanation of the different types of fostering.
In our multi-cultural society there is a great diversity in the children coming into care. There is an urgent need to find carers from all ethnic backgrounds, religious and cultural traditions so the best matches can be made.
Requirements to foster:
- you must be at least 21 years of age (the law permits you to foster from 18)
- have a spare bedroom large enough for child/young person to live in
- you must be a full time resident in the UK or have the leave to remain
- you must be able to have the time to look after a child/young person - usually full-time
Things that are usual to have:
- a commitment to attend training courses on an ongoing basis
- a real interest in children and young people
- a ‘team spirit’ - being happy to work in partnership with everyone working in the interests of a child/young person.
Factors that will be considered:
- your general health: are you reasonably fit to foster now and into the future?
- where you live: is your home safe for a child?
- your financial position: can you afford to be a foster carer?
- family and friends: will there be people interested and able to provide support?
- your past: have you spent time living abroad - any past criminal convictions
- your knowledge of, plus any experience of working with children/young people - this might be through family, work, youth groups or volunteering
- your attitude: do you have a real enthusiasm and the patience to work with children and young people. Will you, with training and support, be able to deal with behaviour that may be difficult or challenging - looked after children often have not had the best start in life? Will you have the commitment to support them through their education and always make them feel a part of your family?
You can be:
- male, female
- LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)
- someone who has never had children
- a single parent
- a parent with young or grown-up children.
- You don’t need any formal qualifications - you will be expected to attend training courses - there are no exams!
- you can foster whatever your sexual orientation
- whatever your religion you can foster - you would need to show, if you decided to accept a young person of a different faith to your own - if you have one - how you would support a child of a different faith in observing their religion. Usually this simply means transporting them to and from the place of observance: church/temple/synagogue/mosque.
- you can be single but will need to show you have a network that can offer support when needed.
- you don’t need to be homeowner - but you will need to show you can offer a child/young person a stable home environment.
- under certain circumstances you can continue to work and foster - this will depend on the type of fostering you can do
- There is no age limit to foster - some people are fostering who are seventy. What matters is your fitness and whether you are able to care for a child/young person
And especially remember…
If you open your heart and open your home to foster, you will have the power to transform a child’s life by giving them something very precious…a future.
Call us, or we’ll call you for a friendly chat if you leave your number – there is no pressure. We’ll invite you to one of our fortnightly coffee mornings that we hold for anyone thinking of applying – so come along and meet us and some of our carers.