Lucy Stevens - 8th February 2022
Last week we looked at some of the common misconceptions that people hold about who can and who can’t foster. This week we’ll look at some other things prospective foster carers ask us when they’re trying to decide if they are suited to fostering.
You don’t need to have had your own children to be able to foster. It’s clear that having experience of caring for children and knowledge of child development is crucial when it comes to fostering. However, people gain experience of children and young people in many ways: through work, through volunteering, through family and friends.
Yes! Foster carers are motivated by a range of factors, they may want to give something back from a position of relative privilege or they may want to share what they have learned through adversity. Often, carers who have had challenges to overcome, whether in childhood or adulthood, are able to understand and empathise with the experiences many of our children have lived through. Children can detect authenticity straight away and a carer who has experienced adversity can also offer great hope and encouragement to children and young people.
This will largely depend on where you live. As a foster carer you will need to be able to meet all the needs of the children you care for, including providing transport to school, extra-curricular activities and potentially to facilitate contact. You will also need to be able to attend the professionals’ meetings that take place regularly. Not being able to drive would only be a real issue if you do not live in an area that is well served and connected by public transport.
Yes! Our foster carers love their pets, and they form an important part of the fostering household. Many children find pets therapeutic and comforting and they can really help children to settle and feel at home. During the fostering assessment, your pet will also be assessed to ensure that they pose no risk to children. Some of the children we care for might not be very gentle or kind to animals because of their own life experiences. We always ask a referring local authority whether a child poses a risk to animals before we match them with carers.
Yes, you can. Foster carers receive an allowance for fostering. This allowance is generally not included as income when it comes to calculating benefit payments. There is also a tax benefit to carers which often means that their taxable income from fostering is zero.
Yes. As is the case for all foster carers, the assessment will look at your resilience and your potential areas of vulnerability. We know that all children can trigger things in us at some points in our lives, but the assessment process should afford carers the opportunity to predict what these triggers might be and to explore our reactions to them. Foster carers who have experienced the care system themselves can offer rare and precious insight. Your fostering provider would want to establish that you are at peace with your life experiences and that your experiences have enabled you to offer something valuable to fostering. As always, we recommend you choose a fostering provider who will give you full and comprehensive support.
Do you have other questions about fostering? You can put your questions to us by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, message us on Facebook, call us on 01206 299775. You can also contact us via our website.