There are so many myths and misconceptions floating around about fostering that at times it can be confusing and can create stumbling blocks when looking into your suitability to foster. My advice is always to make a call and speak to your local fostering agency, they will guide you and give you the best advice for your situation. However, I thought I would share some of the most common myths and hopefully dispel some of the misconceptions.
DO I NEED A SPARE ROOM?
Yes, is the short answer. It is incredibly important that young people coming into care have their own safe space and privacy. The only exception is if you are fostering babies, babies can be in the same room as their carers till the age of 12 – 18 months.
I DON’T OWN MY HOME?
Not a problem, it is not necessary that you are a homeowner, if you are renting we would just need assurance that there is stability on your rental agreement and that your landlord is in agreement with your fostering application.
I’M SINGLE CAN I STILL FOSTER?
Absolutely! Being single is no barrier to fostering, we would just ask you to consider your network and who can give you support.
AM I TOO OLD TO FOSTER?
There is no upper age limit to foster, all we ask is that you are young at heart, fit, healthy and have bags of energy.
CAN I FOSTER IF I HAVE PETS?
Having pets does not prevent you from fostering, in fact, they can be an asset to a foster family. However, every animal is different and your pets will be assessed as part of the process of becoming a foster carer, taking into account factors such as their temperament and behaviour. As a pet owner, you also need to think about how you would feel and react if a child injures one of your pets.
DO I HAVE TO BE A BRITISH CITIZEN IN ORDER TO BECOME A FOSTER CARER?
You are not required to have British citizenship to be a foster carer in the UK. However, you need to be a full-time resident in the UK. Children from a wide range of backgrounds need fostering, so foster families usually come from all walks of life. If you are in the UK for a limited time, we will not pursue an application due to the time and cost implications of approving people to foster.
CAN I FOSTER IF I HAVE A LONG-TERM HEALTH CONDITION?
Your health will be considered when applying to foster and any long-term conditions are taken into account. The most important factor is whether you are physically and psychologically fit enough to cope with the demands of caring for a child – this may vary depending on the age of the children that you are approved for.
CAN I BECOME A FOSTER CARER IF ONE OF MY OWN CHILDREN HAS DISABILITIES?
You can apply to become a foster carer if one of your children has a disability. The fostering service that you apply to will want to discuss with you how you would balance the needs of any children who are placed with you with those of your own child and what the impact of having other children in their home could be on your own child.
I WORK FULL-TIME. CAN I STILL FOSTER?
A fostering service may have their own policy regarding foster carers working, but it is often possible to work full-time or part-time, however, this will be dependent on the needs and age of the child(ren). Foster carers are expected to be available to care for children, attend meetings, training, support groups, and to promote and support contact between a child and their family. Ascent Fostering would not usually consider it appropriate for a fostered child to be in full-time daycare while their foster carer works, but may consider the use of after-school clubs and other childcare arrangements for older children.
I do hope you have found this useful, if you have any additional myths you’d like us to bust, please call our friendly team on 0203 757 0070, we’re here to help. Or visit our website www.ascentfostering.com and sign up for one of our online information sessions.
Ascent is a South London-based independent therapeutic fostering agency, rated outstanding by Ofsted. We look to recruit foster carers in the boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth, Southwark, Sutton, Bromley, Wandsworth and Merton.