Perhaps you’d like to become a Foster Carer, but you think your circumstances prevent you.
With so many misconceptions around, we thought we’d help dispel those myths and give you the facts about who can foster. Here are a dozen myths about fostering debunked!
If you’d like to have a chat and find out more, we’d love to hear from you. GET IN TOUCH!
Myth 1: I need childcare experience to foster!
No you don’t. We give you full training and support through a programme called “Skills to Foster”. Any previous experience you do have will always be helpful, but it’s definitely not required.
Myth 2: I can’t foster as a single person?
It doesn’t matter. You can be single, married, living together, in a civil partnership or divorced… What does matter is that you have the capacity to care for children in need of help and support.
Myth 3: I have to own my own home to foster?
Not true. You can be in rented accommodation and still foster. We look for people who have a spare bedroom and a welcoming home environment for children. Have a chat with your landlord and find out if they have any restrictions or concerns that may impact your decision.
Myth 4: I can’t foster, I already work!
Think about your job. Do you have the availability or flexibility to care for children as well? We know that children coming into foster care need consistent caregivers. Someone who can be there to help and support them and meet their needs. You may consider cutting back and working part-time particularly if caring for school-age children. A full-time job may not be an issue if caring for older teenagers who have more independence We can explore with you how to balance your work alongside fostering.
Myth 5: As you’re Not-For-Profit, you don’t pay carers?
Absolutely untrue! We pay carers for fostering. We are an independent not-for-profit fostering agency and any surplus funds we have are reinvested into training and support for our foster families. We want children in foster care to have the best possible life opportunities. Our carer pay is made up of two financial elements – weekly fostering allowance (based on Government minimum weekly payments) and carer fee. We also pay carers additional allowances for birthdays, Christmas/Festivals, Holidays.
You can find out about our carer pay here – WHAT WE PROVIDE
Myth 6: I have my own children, so I can’t foster?
Many carers do have their own children. We work with our carers to carefully match foster children to the needs of your household. Having your own children gives you valuable experience that can help when a child is placed with you. Your own children will need to be ‘on board’ with becoming a foster family. We consider your own children’s views as part of the assessment process for becoming a foster carer.
Myth 7: I’m a part of the LGBTQ+ Community, so I can’t foster?
We do not discriminate. Anyone can potentially become a foster carer. If you have the capacity to provide a caring home for a child, then you have the potential to be a foster carer. Our foster carers are amazing caring and compassionate people.
Myth 8: I’m too old to foster?
In fact there is really no upper age limit to foster. There is a medical health assessment that foster carers have to go through. What really matters is that you are physically active and healthy enough to support the children in your care every day.
Myth 9: I can’t foster children with different religious beliefs to my own!
Religion is not a barrier. We ask that you respect children’s beliefs. We also talk through these types of considerations as part of our matching process to ensure that children are well matched with foster carers and vice versa.
Myth 10: I have a police record so I can’t foster?
Actually, having a police record does not necessarily stop you from becoming a foster carer. Laws around fostering state that only criminal convictions relating to an offence against children or a sexual offence would prevent someone from fostering. You will need to disclose all criminal convictions when you apply to become a foster carer. We do an enhanced criminal record check for all our foster carer applicants.
Myth 11: I’ve had previous financial problems so cannot foster!
Your financial history should not be held against you. You will need to demonstrate that you are now financially secure enough to provide a stable home for any children who are placed with you. We will undertake a financial check as part or our fostering assessment. You should be aware that foster carers only get paid when they have a child living with them. So this means there can be gaps when foster carers will not receive an income. Consider if this is an issue for you.
Myth 12: I have pets so I can’t foster?
So not true! In many ways having pets can be an asset to a foster family. But, we will check you’re your pets as part of our fostering assessment process. We’ll want to know about how they behave particularly around children and people they don’t know. As a pet owner, you also need to think about how you might react and what you would feel if a child hurt one of your pets.
Do you still have questions? If you’d like to know more why not join one of our Q&A sessions or meet up with one of our local social workers and see if fostering is an option for you.