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Fostering as a Career

short-termOften people hear about the benefits of becoming a foster carer and begin to think, “now that is the career for me.” For many people, it is the answer to a dream. You are providing a much needed service to children and young people who need someone like you in their lives. At any given time, there are upwards of 7,000 children needing fostering in the UK and more than 60,000 are already in care. The need for foster carers is urgent.

There is a diligent process that anyone considering fostering as a career must go through. Even before talking to Capstone Foster Care, your local authority, or any other agency in your area about becoming a foster carer, you should talk to your family and friends about the idea of you being a foster parent. If they (and you) believe that this is the career for you, there are some things you should consider. One is that it is not necessary that you have experience in looking after children. However, if you have looked after children, you will have a stronger sense of the commitment and energy that is needed. Even more crucial than these factors is the need for patience.

You will also need to have a high level of communication skills. Not only will you need to be able to communicate with the child in care in a timely and patient manner, you will also need to listen and really hear what the child is trying to tell you. Beyond this, you will need to communicate with the social worker and other members of the support team at Capstone who are there to support you as well as the educators and other professionals involved in the child’s life.

Working as part of the team involved in the child’s life involves another of the necessary skills — cooperation. While you are the person interacting with the child in a daily and ongoing basis, you are one element of the entire process and your cooperation involves taking advice and providing proper feedback to the rest of the team.

Another quality that is essential is compassion. The children placed in care may have been through trust-shattering experiences and their behavior may reflect that. Being able to understand their feelings and reactions is part of the fostering process.

As for the particulars of your lifestyle, your marital status is not a factor nor is your gender orientation or age. Ideally, you are over 25 but Capstone Foster Care considers carers as young as 21 if the circumstances are right. The important thing is that your health and energy level are good and that you (and anyone in your household over the age of 18) can successfully pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

There is something else that you need to know about choosing fostering as a career. As a foster carer, you are considered a self employed professional with professional qualifications but even as a trained carer with all the risks involved in being a professional carer, you do not have the ability to command your own fees or set your own hours. In addition, you cannot put yourself out there in the marketplace with your skills. There is tax to consider and you work hard at a job where you are on call 24 hours a day. There is one more factor to consider — there is no guarantee of placements once your application has been approved.

If you are interested in fostering or wish to know more about fostering, contact Capstone Foster Care. We can discuss matters with you such as how we will support you, what to expect, the training involved, the help available to foster parents, and financial aspects such as the allowance that a foster carer can receive and how much are foster carers paid?

Contact Capstone Foster Care today on 0800 012 4004 or simply click here.

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