The willingness to be there for children as both their support system and a guardian is the most important sign that fostering is indeed the right option for you. Nevertheless, there are certain prerequisites that should be able clue you in regarding your suitability for the work it takes to become a foster care provider.
Do You Have the Time?
It’s neither impossible, nor uncommon to see foster carers work. The bottom line is that you are free to work for as many hours as you can, provided that it does not become a priority over your fostering duties.
Fostering can only be the right option if you can always prioritise your fostering duties towards the children in care over any other professional obligations. In fact, if you believe that you are too busy in your personal life to take care of the foster children right now, that too is a problem. In that case, you should wait a while. Apply once you have the time needed to take care of the children who will be assigned under your care.
Note that you will be paid a decent allowance for becoming a foster carer by the LA or the IFA you sign up with. This will not only cover expenses related to the child in care, but the allowance should also help you generate an income. However, the allowances can be significantly higher than average and quite generous with popular IFAs like the Orange Grove Foster Care agency.
Do You Meet the Requirements?
The initial requirements for becoming a foster carer are basic and most people will have no issues with meeting them. Just check them out below and be sure you are not missing out on anything.
- All foster carers must either be a citizen, or a resident of the UK with no limitations on living and working rights.
- The applicant’s age must be at least 21+, but there are no specified upper age limits here.
- Every foster carer must have an extra room in their residence that is fit for a child to move into.
Do You Have a Clean Record?
Children do not enter the foster care system unless they have been neglected, abused, abandoned, orphaned, or traumatised in some other manner. The intensity of their experiences will vary, but there’s always a tragic reason behind why they are there. Therefore, the LA or any IFA is not going to assign a child to anyone whom they cannot verify as a suitably caring individual with no prior records of sexual or violent crimes.
An old record of petty crime (thievery, shoplifting, brawl, etc.) should not stop you from applying though. However, you will be questioned thoroughly about it during your assessments to see if you have indeed managed to change your ways since those days.
There are over 62,000 foster children in England alone today, but the number of foster homes needed to take care of them all just isn’t there yet. If you want to make a difference in the lives of children and you found the points discussed here to be relatable, there is no reason why you can’t add your own home to that list.