FOSTERING A CHILD
Have you thought about fostering children?
Taking a foster child into your care can be a very rewarding experience, when you are fostering children and young people, you are becoming a temporary legal guardian for the child and acting as a parent for the time that they are placed with you. There is a great demand for foster placements in the UK and along with them, committed, willing foster parents ready to make a difference to the lives of the children and families that need their help.
Making the decision to foster children is a very big one and something that must be considered carefully when committing to it. Our foster parents find the work very fulfilling but also very challenging. There are many different circumstances that may see a child placed with you. Providing a safe and secure home for a young person removed from their parents can be extremely demanding.
There were over 69,000 children in the care of social services in the UK last year and this means 69,000 children away from their families and in need of stable family environments that could be offered by foster parents on either a temporary or permanent basis.
THE MYTHS OF FOSTERING
I am too old: Legally you must be over eighteen years old to become a foster carer in the UK. We assess each applicant on their skills and experiences, it would be beneficial to have some life experience and or knowledge of child care to foster. There is no upper limit, all applicants undertake a medical assessment, and so if you are healthy enough, age will not be a barrier to fostering children.
I am Gay – Your sexuality has no bearing on whether you become a foster carer or not. Regardless of your sexual orientation, you can still become a foster carer. We support all applications and are keen to diversify our carer base which includes with those from the LGBT communities.
I live in a rented accommodation – As long as we can gain permission from your landlord that you can foster in the property you rent you do not need to be a home owner. A foster child will however need their own bedroom and there should be suitable living space within the home to ensure everyone can live comfortably.
I am a single male/female – you CAN foster, Pride have many dedicated, successful single foster carers who provide stable supportive homes to the children they care for.
I am religious – We have many foster carers from many different faiths and need foster carers from different backgrounds and religions. However, you would need to consider whether you would be able to support a child that had different religious views/ beliefs from your own within your home and within the community.
I have a criminal conviction – This would not necessarily rule you out of being able to foster a child. It would depend on the nature of the conviction and when this occurred. Pride undertakes DBS checks as part of the assessment process, but we do advise you to inform the agency of any conviction as soon as possible so we can determine whether this will impact on our decision.
WHY DO CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE COME INTO CARE?
There are many reasons why a child may end up in the care system. These include:
- Conflicts Within the Family, Including Domestic Abuse
- Medical Emergency
- Parents’ Substance Abuse
- Parents’ Medical Health Issues
- Child Abuse
- Complex Needs or Respite Care
Young people may well feel uncertainty when they enter a new foster placement and as a foster carer, you must be able to deal with a variety of situations and be able to help reassure a child coming to live in your home. You will receive comprehensive training as a new carer and ongoing training and development to enable you to build on you career in fostering. Go to https://www.pridefostering.com/training/ for more information on the training we offer.
In the majority of cases, foster children are supported to return to live with their families, this is generally considered the preferred outcome for the child. Being able to offer foster placements to a family in need is an invaluable service and something that everyone who is or has fostered a child should be proud of.
How do children find themselves in care?
Each and every foster child is different as is the reason that they have ended up in the care system, Examples of why a child may be taken into care:
- Family Breakdown
- Medical Emergency
- Parental Imprisonment
- Substance Abuse
- Child Abuse
- Complex needs Or Respite care
This is a short list and reasons do vary from case to case, as a foster carer you must be able to deal with a variety of situations and be able to help reassure a child coming from a difficult situation that may be scared or confused when they first come into your care
The general perception that foster children are either abandoned or orphaned could not be further from the truth, in the majority of cases, foster children are eventually returned to their families which is generally considered the preferred solution for the child. Most of the time, the children that you will end up fostering are from normal families from all sections of the community that may have come across some very hard times. Being able to offer foster placements to a family in need is an invaluable service and something that everyone who is or has fostered a child should be proud of.
HOW DO I GET “MATCHED” WITH A CHILD?
During your application with Pride Fostering Service, you will be asked about your skills and experiences. We will use this information to create a detailed profile of you. When we have a young person refereed to us from the local authority we identify that you would be a suitable foster parent for this child, we will contact you straight away. Our placement team carefully match young people to foster carers who have the desired skills to be able to meet the needs of that individual child. Of course you are free to decline any placement at any time and there is never any pressure from Pride for you take a placement. Where a child needs specialist care, a foster parent with experience would be the preferred choice, a child would never be matched to you if you have not received the correct level of training to meet their needs.
How long will a foster child remain with me?
How long is a piece of string? Seriously, there are no standard time frames to any fostering placement as every case is different (with the exception of respite care). Placements can be from one night in the case of an emergency or it can be weeks, months and even years. This is usually when it has not been possible for the fostered child to return to their family home.
The length of time also depends on the type of placements that you are prepared to offer. Some of our foster parents specialize in emergency only placements while others opt for taking on longer term fostering. What you choose is up to you
What types of care can I offer?
There are many different types of placement that you could offer including:
- Emergency – An emergency foster placement is needed when a child is in need of immediate foster care.
- Short –Term/Temporary –Short-term placements can last anywhere from a couple of weeks up to a few months.
- Respite – Fostering children and young people for very short periods of time, in most cases a week or a weekend. This can be a regular arrangement.
- Permanent/Long term – When children and young people are unable to return home to their birth family, foster carers make a long term commitment to the child and the care plan is for the young person to stay with that carer until their majority.
- Parent and Child Fostering – specialises placements where a parent and their child live together in the foster carers home for a time limited period.
- Specialist, Enhanced and Complex Placements – These are fostering placements for children who often display challenging behaviour and who require a high level of support and supervision.
Go to https://www.pridefostering.com/placement-types/ for detailed explanations of these.
Will I be paid for fostering children?
As a foster parent you will receive a foster carers allowance, this rate depends on the type of organization that you work with, if you work with your local authority you will be payed a rate set by the government, however fostering children through an IFA like pride means that you will receive an enhanced fostering fee. Please consult our page on fostering allowances for more information. You may decide that you would like to foster just one child or you may decide in the future that you can accommodate more than one child at a time. Either way, the fostering fees and allowances are paid per child per week, this ensures that you are always able to meet the needs of the foster children in your care.
Once you have decided that fostering babies and children is something that you would like to do, you can then begin the application process by making an enquiry with us.
As a foster parent you will make a marked difference in the lives of the children that you care for. Providing them with a safe environment at a time of great instability can help children through these stressful times and help them to go on to have a bright and prosperous future. What could be more rewarding than that?