Making the choice to become a foster carer is a big decision that can have a profound impact on the lives of children in care. If you’ve ever contemplated fostering or want to find out whether it’s the right choice for you and your family, keep reading to find out the answers to the most commonly asked questions about fostering.
How Will I Be Supported?
As a foster carer, you can expect to get not only financial support but emotional support too. By choosing a reputable foster care service, you will have access to all the necessary guidance and assistance you need when welcoming a foster child into your home. A good foster agency will provide you with specialised training and ongoing development opportunities.
They will also make sure you are 100% ready before accepting your first foster child or children. Reaching out for support from your agency is essential, especially during the first few months. No question is too big or too small, so use the knowledge and advice that your agency can provide. Foster agencies also provide financial support to cover each child’s needs. No matter which agency you work with, you will be supported with foster carer pay and other incentives.
What if I Have Other Children?
When choosing a foster carer role, it’s important to take into consideration your other children. Fostering introduces changes and challenges that the entire family must talk about and agree upon (depending on their ages).
If your children are a little younger, it may take a bit of time for them to understand and adjust to another child living at home. Initial resistance may be possible, but children are very resilient, and you may find they make friends and bond quickly. This means it’s important to encourage a relationship between foster children and children that live with you early on.
Saying goodbye to a foster child can also be difficult for everyone, so this is something else to take into consideration. There are many support groups and organisations available to help your children adapt to living with foster children and cope with this transition when they move on or go back to their birth family.
Should I Have Any Qualifications?
You don’t need a specific qualification to become a foster carer. What really matters is having the capability and compassion to look after children in care. As stated earlier, you will be well supported in training and development, so foster agencies are just looking for people who are willing to learn.
It’s important to have some kind of experience working with children though, whether this be in a personal or professional setting. Even if you just have children of your own, this is enough to give you the experience to care for a child.
Choosing to become a foster carer is a rewarding and unique role that can change the lives of children and your family. Whilst you may have your own reasons to make this decision, make sure your whole family is involved in the decision-making process. Other than that, your next step would be to talk with a foster agency. Good luck and happy fostering!