Becoming a foster parent is an important decision, as you have the potential to make a significant impact on a young person’s life. Naturally, becoming a foster carer is a big responsibility - so there are a few things to consider before making this choice.
Being a foster parent can be a full-time career, with competitve fostering allowances for carers on a weekly basis. The allowance takes into consideration where you live in the UK, as well as the child’s needs. By fostering through an independent fostering agency, they will likely have more competitive rates than those you would receive by fostering with local authorities.
Essentially, anyone can become a foster carer as long as they meet the fostering requirements set out to start the initial process:
By meeting these initial requirements, you are more likely to be eligible to become a foster carer. There are many misconceptions surrounding being a foster parent - contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be married, wealthy, straight, or even own your home to be a foster parent. These are myths which inhibit many people from becoming potential foster families.
The basic fostering requirements are put in place to simply ensure your foster child is placed in a safe environment in which they can develop and thrive.
Step 1 – Get in touch: the first way to start your application is getting in touch with the team here at Capstone. Your submission will then be assessed by a social worker who will decide whether to take it forward.
Step 2 – Home visit: if you are selected as potentially eligible for fostering, the team will then arrange to meet you and your family for a home visit, either by video chat or in person.
Step 3 – Applying: the next step in the process involves completing an application form. A social worker will also then be assigned to you who will work with you throughout the process.
Step 4 – Fostering assessment: during the assessment process, you and your social worker will work together to complete the Form F assessment. This assessment process not only takes into consideration if you are able to create a safe and stable environment for your foster placement, but this is also essential in finding the right fit for you.
An independent panel will discuss your Form F assessment and ask any further questions they might have regarding your application. The panel’s decision is not final, however fostering agencies do take them into account.
Step 5 - Skills to foster: training can begin as soon as you apply to become a foster parent. All of our prospective foster carers will be required to attend our ‘Skills to Foster’ training course.
When becoming a foster parent, you will have the option to foster multiple age groups – from infants to teenagers, there are approximately 65,000 children in the UK living with foster families, and this number is rapidly growing. Whether you are fostering a child or a young adult, the process remains the same.
However, when fostering a child, your key skills will be considered. You will need to demonstrate these traits in order to create an emotionally stable home for your foster child. This includes characteristics such as:
Some foster children come from difficult backgrounds, and therefore are sometimes prone to challenging behaviours that you may not initially understand. It is paramount that you have patience and compassion to learn all about your foster child, so you can create the most comfortable home environment for them.
When fostering a child, you will have the option to take on a long-term or a short-term placement – those who foster short-term will more likely take in children during an emergency situation, where reunification is the goal. Whereas, long-term foster placements are more of a permanent solution and you can sometimes take care of a child right up until their adulthood.
When you foster a child – especially with an independent foster agency like Capstone – a team is always on hand to offer expert advice and support to help you with every step of the way.
Want to find out more about becoming a foster parent? Contact our expert team for more helpful advice today. Or, if you would simply like to find out more about fostering – you can refer to our helpful Knowledge Centre.
Have you ever wondered what the fostering assessment process is like? Capstone Foster Care’s Director of the North, Debbie, tells all about the assessment process. She said think of it a little like This is Your Life! This podcast is a must watch for anyone considering fostering.