Fostering is a sometimes misunderstood element of young people’s care, and recent research by UK charity, Action for Children, has demonstrated how deep the problem runs. Many people in the UK think that you can’t foster if you are over 55, if you don’t own your home or if you work full time. Others think fostering is only for heterosexual couples and those without their own children.
In actual fact, the world of fostering is open to all types of families. Single people, gay couples and even retirees are just as welcome to apply to become foster carers, and with a shortfall of around 9,000 foster families expected this year alone, becoming a foster carer has never been more important.
Why choose to foster?
Becoming a foster carer can be an incredibly rewarding experience. You could be offering your support and sharing the stability that characterises your happy home with someone who is in need of your care. Through your actions, you could help to change their life forever. You could be playing a pivotal role in nurturing the self-esteem and confidence of one of tomorrow’s adults.
What support do you get?
When you choose to become a foster carer, you will receive plenty of help and support to help you do the best job you can. This includes:
- Comprehensive training: training to help you understand how to foster and what to expect, as well as opportunities for further learning and development if you need it.
- A key social worker: you can expect regular contact with a nominated social worker to support you and your foster child and to help with any problems you encounter.
- Support groups: a chance to get together with other foster families for support and advice.
- Foster Talk membership: membership to this network, which is packed full of resources and support for foster families.
There are many other benefits and methods of supporting families who wish to foster a child, and a specialist fostering agency, such as Fostering Solutions, will be able to provide more information and advice. You can visit the site to see what other people think of fostering and what to expect.
What rewards can you expect?
Foster carers report feeling incredibly enriched when they know they’ve helped turn a child’s life around. Children simply need the opportunity to grow and develop with support around them. Being a foster carer, whether long or short term, at weekends or otherwise, can be the lifeline that a troubled child needs in order to develop their full potential.
Have you/Would you ever consider fostering?