It begins with the time involved in becoming registered as a foster parent. This can take up to six months and it is a rigorous period as you are visited at least half a dozen times while the suitability of your home, your family circumstances, and you are assessed. You will also attend a training course.
The first aspect of your home under consideration is whether there is a spare room for a child in care. This is essential, as each child must have a separate bedroom. Your age is not a factor, other than you should be at least 21.
Your health is a consideration. You must have the energy to parent a foster child and carry out all the educational and health appointments required. All members of the household aged 18 and older undergo Disclosure and Barring Service background checks. Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from being approved as a foster carer. It depends on the nature of the crime.
At the end of the assessment, a full report is provided to an independent panel for approval.
The real answer to the question about whether you become a foster carer lies within yourself. Are you motivated to pour the emotional energy into fostering? The children who will be coming into your home and your heart are often traumatised. Their own birth families cannot look after them and most of them have been removed from their homes by the local authority because they have been abused or neglected.
There has also been a rise in unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the past year.
On the plus side, as a foster parent, you know you are part of a team that is providing a child or young person a chance at having a very positive experience and at having a bright future. If all the child has known is abuse and family dysfunction, being in your home, a caring and safe place to be, the child gets to see how a functioning family behaves.
You are able to provide a home for children and young people without being concerned about the financial stress of caring for them. As a foster carer, you receive a weekly fostering allowance that pays for general household expenses, food, mileage, school meals, the child’s clothing, and pocket money.
If the child has special needs, there is a weekly fee based on those needs above and beyond the basic allowance. The average total weekly pay from an independent fostering agency can be around £400 per child per week for the allowance and the fee beyond the allowance. This is the average. If the child has physical, emotional, or mental challenges, extra expenses are covered. Our supervising social worker will be available for any concerns you have about the child’s special needs. In addition, you can claim a tax exemption for up to £10,000.
There are thousands of children who urgently need you now, and the recruitment of foster parents to support teenagers, sibling groups and children from diverse ethnic backgrounds is a priority.
If you want to know more about how to apply to become a foster carer, contact Capstone Foster Care. We would be happy to discuss our application and assessment process with you. Call us on 0800 012 4004 or simply click here.