There are almost 60,000 children in the English foster care system as of now and that number is a constantly growing figure. Consequently, this has increased the demand for suitable adults who can take care of the children in care. If you wish to be involved in the care and wellbeing of children in bad situations, there is certainly the opportunity to do so by becoming a foster care.
However, anyone willing should be aware of some basic facts, before applying at their local independent fostering agency (IFA). Let’s discuss those facts and raise awareness about what it means to be a foster carer.
You Will Need to Meet the Minimum Qualifications to Apply
Meeting the minimum qualifications for applying is as easy as they come, because you don’t need any particular academic or professional qualifications at all to become a foster care provider. You will only need to ensure that you are:
- An adult UK citizen or a permanent resident above the age of 21.
- Capable of providing an equipped room that’s fit and safe for children to stay and sleep in.
- Have plenty of patience, energy, resilience and commitment
Not someone with a prior criminal record for crimes of violent, abusive, or sexual nature.Note that a history of very old and petty crimes of a nonviolent and nonsexual nature might be overlooked during the fostering assessment process. However, that will be contingent upon the applicant’s ability to show that they have not been involved with illegal activities of any kind for a long time.
You Will Be Paid an Allowance for Your Time and Efforts
Fostering is not as much about holding a job, as it is about helping the children in care. However, both you and the children in your care will be financially provided for by your IFA. The allowances will differ based on the chosen IFA, the location, needs of the child/children in care, and the number of children you are looking after.
There are several other benefits to consider here as well, which include, but are not restricted to paid respite holidays, bonus payments for festivities, and most importantly, a gradual increase in the foster carer’s payment through annual appreciations. If you meet the minimum qualifications and you are located somewhere in or near Staffordshire, contact the local agency for fostering in Staffordshire to initiate the application process right away.
You Will Need to Prioritise Your Time to Care for the Foster Children
This is the part that a lot of people misunderstand about being a foster carer. If you are chosen to become a foster care provider, you must prioritise your time to first take care of any foster children that the agency matches you with. A lot of children in foster care come from abusive and neglectful home environments. The whole point of putting them in foster care would fail if their foster carers turned out to be no better at attending to them than their parents.
Note that while you can certainly hold a job while fostering, you will always be responsible for making sure that your job hours are not affecting or taking priority over your fostering duties. Part time jobs or those with flexible hours are best suited for foster care providers.
As mentioned, these are just some of the preliminary facts, but now you know what to expect. If your application is accepted and you pass the assessment process, everything else will be taught to you with adequate training.
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