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Can You Foster and Work?

When people think about becoming foster parents, a common line of thought is about working. If they have or want a full time job outside the home, they ask, “Can I still foster?” The short answer may very well be, “No.” However there are circumstances where a “Yes” could be the answer.

If your fostering arrangement involves a set period of time, it is possible to work at a full time job outside of your foster care responsibilities. For instance, if you provide respite care, you will know in advance when your fostering services are required. Otherwise, because there is no set appointment for when local authorities take children and young people into care, there is no prearranged time for when foster care is needed.

Some children have been in care since birth and in their experience, they may have been moved from place to place. Others may have endured living conditions that hindered their development and harmed their health. It is essential that they are placed in a caring, safe and stable home.

If you are a foster couple, you would have more flexibility regarding your job because one of you could always be available for the child’s needs while the other one was at work outside the home. For a single parent who works full time, fostering may become a problem. You will have to evaluate your working hours and your fostering commitment. As well as providing a home and affection to the foster child or young person, you must be available for meetings with the foster agency social worker, the child’s teacher, and other personnel involved in protecting the child’s welfare and wellbeing.

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The bottom line is that when you become a foster carer, your first responsibility is to the child in care and this is a 24/7 job. The reality is that fostering may be a sporadic job sometimes and you might not always have a placement. When there is no placement, there is no payment.

Fostering is considered by many to be a career and as such, they do not want to jeopardise the stability and security of the home they offer children in care by being distracted by another job. While foster carers are paid an allowance when a child is placed with them, and fostering is often considered as a career, fostering is not primarily about the pay that you can earn as a carer.

Part of your assessment as a foster carer involves your ability to provide support and training for a looked after child. Families with their own children may see a difference in between the needs of their own children and a child in care because the disadvantaged child may have suffered trauma. In addition, the looked after child is in a home that is new to him or her and he or she may take a while to feel accepted. They may be attending a new school and have to make new friends as well as settle in with a new family in a new house.

For more information, contact Capstone Foster Care on 0800 012 4004 or simply click here.

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