There is a shortage of 8,100 families to come forward to become foster carers to ensure every child who has gone into care, has a warm home and a loving family who can meet their needs. There is a more urgent need for foster carers to look after teenagers, siblings and more specifically children with disabilities.
Due to an increase of children coming into care and foster carers retiring etc, there is a growing need for people to come forward to fostering. If the demand isn’t met then it can cause disruption to the children overall well being. Due to the lack of foster carers, children can be sent out of their local area and this can have a negative impact on the child as they move further away from their support networks including friends, teachers and extended family.
So where will these foster carers come from?
Foster carers come from all walks of life. They are butchers, bakers teachers, nurses, to company directors and computer programmers. We know from our members that they have varied interests and hobbies; they represent a range of age groups and hold a wide array of skills and experiences.
Foster carers can be any gender, from any culture, religion or belief system, they can be single, married or living with a partner – the list could go on. In other words, your background should not prevent you from considering fostering.
There are only a few criteria you need to meet to be a foster carer.
- be 21 or older
- have a spare room
- be a full-time UK resident or have leave to remain
- be able to provide a child, who is coming into care, the time, love, and support to help them thrive.
You should also consider your:
- health – it is a demanding role which you should expect to do for a good few years
- finances – do you know what fees or allowances you will receive
- support network – do you have family members and friends who can help you out both practically and emotionally
- suitability – do you have previous convictions, do you have the right temperament, do you enjoy spending time looking after children and young people?
Some of these might seem obvious but you have to mee at all the criteria mentioned above. As for the things to consider, fostering is a demanding role and its more of 24/7 role. Having a support network is important to make sure you minimise risk of burn outs.
On the last note, fostering isnt for everybody and not everyone has the skills to be a good foster carer- but dont rule it out because of your background, age and gender and so on. if you think you could foster get in touch with our team and have an informal chat.