SOME COMMON MYTHS ABOUT FOSTERING
I want to be a foster carer but I can’t really afford to
You do not have to be rich or well off to foster children.Fostering is an amazing and rewarding thing to do for children and young people, but it is not charity. As an approved foster carer you would be receiving a fostering allowance, which covers the extra household and general costs of having a child or a young person living with you, any additional expenses involved in their care and rewards your work as a professional foster carer. Foster carers get tax relief on the allowance they get from fostering, and their benefits will usually not be affected.
I want to be a foster carer but my children still live at home
This is even great as you,ve got valuable parenting experience! Many people look after their own children and foster at the same time, and in fact research has shown there can be enormous benefits for both the fostered children and the birth children if you do. When people with their own children decide to foster, the whole family become part of the fostering process, and your children will be invited to share their thoughts and give their input, in age-appropriate ways of course. We will take extra care at the matching stage to ensure that the young people that come to live with are a good fit for all your family. As long as you have room in your home and in your life for another child, of course you can still foster even if your own children are still at home.
I live in a rented home, can I still foster?
Foster carers do not need to own their own home. Whether you have a mortgage, or are a private or council tenant makes no difference to your ability to give a young person a safe, secure and loving place to call home. As long as you have enough room in your home to be able to give each young person their own bedroom, and as long as you can offer a safe and secure home environment for young people then you can foster. If you are renting a property permission from the owner will be obtained during the assessment process.
I want to foster but I’m a single man
Single Men can be foster carers too! Many men foster, and in fact the unique value of male carers is only now becoming more widely recognised. When a man fosters, he is able to present positive male role models for both male and female foster children. This can have a restorative and therapeutic effect on many fostered children whose fathers may have been absent or abusive. There is great demand for single men foster carers!!!!!
I want to be a foster carer but I am too old (or I am too young!)
If you’ve got enough energy to foster lively children, then you are not too old to foster!Legally there are no upper age limits on fostering, and many people come to fostering a littler later in life, after their children have left home for example as long as you are in good health. Older foster carers can bring considerable expertise and life experience to fostering, and young people can benefit greatly from the calming, steadying influence of an older foster carer. On the other hand, if you’re under 35 but can demonstrate you have the experience, commitment and dedication to foster young people then you’re not too young to foster! People in the 30 – 35 age bracket can bring a great deal of empathy and understanding to the role, which can help greatly with the communication and trust relationship between fostered child and foster carer.
Can I foster carer if I don’t have children of my own.
You don’t need to have your own children to foster. Shining Stars Fostering Agency need to be comfortable that you have enough experience of being around children or young people to know, broadly speaking, what is involved with caring for a child. It doesn’t matter whether you have gained this experience through parenting your own children, through caring for young people in your extended family or friends network, or through working with young people as part of your job. The preparatory training course, skills to foster training that you will undertake as part of your application to foster will give you the actual practical and specialist skills involved in looking after fostered children.
I’m single, can I still foster?
You don’t have to be married to foster. You don’t even have to be part of a couple! Single people can and do make great foster carers. To us it’s not your marital status that is important but your ability and skills to meet a child or young person’s needs.
I am into same sex relationship- can I foster?
You do not have to be heterosexual to foster. Gay and lesbian couples can foster too. Infact there is a shortage of same sex gay and lesbian carers. Much like your marital status, your sexual orientation is not important to us when we are determining your ability to provide a safe home and sensitive care to a fostered young person. Every young person in need of foster care is different, with their own story and challenges, so there needs to be diversity among the foster carer community too. Whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual or asexual doesn’t matter, it’s the life experiences you can bring to the role of foster carer that can help you to help the young people who live with you that’s what counts.
Can I work and still foster?
Depending on your circumstances you can sometimes foster and continue to work. It might just make a difference to the type of fostering that you can do. Obviously very young children, or young people needing special care, will require someone to be there with them all day. If you are part of a couple of course only one of the carers need be at home, so the other can work. Or you could look to foster older, school-age children and combine your work outside of the home with their care. Many people manage to successfully combine a job with their responsibilities as a foster carer, and if this is what you want to do you should not let it prevent you from applying to foster.
These are all myths about fostering, so stop thinking about them and foster now.
One friendly free call to Shining Stars Fostering Agency on telephone number 020 8263 6260 (or enquire online if you prefer) could put your mind at ease and get you on the path to a truly rewarding career as a foster carer.