The first question is easy to answer. Contact an independent fostering agency such as Capstone Foster Care or your local authority and discuss applying to be a foster carer. The assessment of your application is conducted by a trained social worker.
One of the first things checked is whether you have enough space for a foster child. The backgrounds of members of your household are part of the checks the assessor carries out. You will undergo a health check and everyone in your household over the age of 18 must have a police check.
A safe home environment is more important than your experience working with children. Whether you are married, single, or living common law is not a factor. Whether you are lesbian, gay, or straight is not a factor. Your health is.
A social worker will make about half a dozen visits to your home. They will interview you and if you are a couple applying to foster, they will interview each of you separately as well as together.
When your application meets the approval of the fostering panel and you are registered with an agency, your fostering life begins.
This leads into the second question. Do you have the traits that foster carers should ideally have such as patience, energy, compassion, and good personal communication skills?
When you are working with children and young people, especially children and young people who have been through difficulties in their lives already, you will need to communicate with them in a way that demonstrates your understanding of their behaviour which may be difficult.
These skills to foster relate to the third question. What is involved in the duties of a foster parent? Being a foster parent means that you are acting in place of the birth parent or parents and accepting the child or young person into your household as part of the family.
There is a difference in that you are not alone in caring for the child because you have the Capstone network of experts and support as part of the team. Another difference is that financial help is available in addition to a generous allowance, if and when there are special requirements. Professional help is available. Training is also available.
When a foster child who has been a member of your family leaves, the leave-taking can leave you feeling bereft although you were aware that it was not a permanent placement. The average length of a placement is a little more than a year. There are short-term placements, which can develop into long-term foster care, which can turn into permanent care. The young person might be with you until they reach leaving age or they might be gone in a matter of weeks.
For more information about becoming a foster carer, and your suitability, contact Capstone Foster Care on 0800 012 4004 or simply click here.