A Beginner’s Guide for Foster Carers

If you are considering opening up your heart and house to a child in need of a safe home, know that your act of kindness will help transform the life of another. Unfortunately, there are tens of thousands of children in the UK in need of a secure, loving home, and not enough foster carers to provide one for them.

However, if you’re thinking about becoming a much-needed foster parent who can make a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable children, here is a beginner’s guide for foster carers to help you decide if you’re the right person for the job.

What Does it Mean to Be a Foster Carer?

A child is taken into care if they are deemed at risk at home or if there are potentially serious hazards in their usual home environment. Foster care revolves around caring for a child as if they were your own, welcoming them into your family, and offering them a safe and stable environment to grow up in.

There are numerous reasons why children cannot stay with their own parents or guardians, such as neglect, abuse, or the result of a family crisis. In some instances, it is because the parent has become ill and requires someone to care for their child temporarily. The reasons can be incredibly complex, and it is not always the fault of the parent if a child has to go into care.

Can Anyone Foster a Child?

To become a foster carer, you need to be over the age of 21, possess a spare bedroom, and you need to be a British Citizen or have indefinite leave to remain status. However, you do not have to own your own home, be a certain gender, or be employed, nor do you have to have any qualifications or childcare experience, and your relationship status does not matter either.

Do You Have What it Takes?

Besides these prerequisites stated above, foster carers do not have to check any other boxes to care for a child. However, this care role is demanding and it is most suitable for individuals who have a certain skill set. For example, foster carers should possess an understanding and patient demeanor, resilience, and a positive outlook, which will help you thrive in this role. Great foster carers build trusting relationships with children and enrich their lives by looking after their overall health and well-being, supporting their education, and teaching them skills they can use later on in life.

Naturally, a great way to learn about the specifics of foster care and what it entails is to contact foster agencies themselves, such as those like Foster Care Associates (FCA) – a reputable fostering agency that delivers different types of foster care within the UK. They offer support and advice to new foster carers and will guide you throughout your fostering journey. Visit thefca.co.uk for more information about foster care.

How to Become a Foster Carer

Prospective foster carers need to take a few necessary steps before they can foster a child – a process that usually takes between four and six months. The application process involves several home visits for you to collect information and ask questions, along with preparatory training to help you carry out the role successfully.