Fostering a child, or sibling set, is a rewarding process. You can get a lot out of fostering children, and you can also give back, too. You can give children the chance of extra security and safety at a time when they need it the most. Becoming a foster parent does not have to be as challenging as you think—quite often your life experience has given you a good start to becoming an excellent foster carer, so let’s break down the process a little bit more.
The Requirements of Potential Foster Parents
To begin with, you must ensure that you meet all of the requirements to be a foster parent. These requirements may differ from area to area, but as a minimum, you must have a spare bedroom within your home, and you must not currently be in full-time work. Foster children need time, and they need dedication, and you cannot give this if you are working 35 hours a week. You must be a British citizen to foster a child of any age, and you must be over 21 years of age. You also need to have time, energy, patience and resilience as not all children have had the best start in life.
Decide What Type of Care You Want to Provide
Once you can be sure that you meet the requirements to become a foster parent, you then have to decide on what type of care you want to provide, and for how long. For example, do you want to offer short-term care? Are you looking at long-term placements? Or, are you looking at providing emergency foster care? Deciding what type of care you want to provide will make the process easier and smoother. You also need to think about if you would like to foster a child with autism, or perhaps a sibling group? Take the time to think about what you have to offer, and think about the commitment involved, as this will help to make your decision that little bit easier.
Reach Out to an Agency
You will naturally have questions that need answering, and it is important to get in touch with a fostering agency as soon as possible. You can find a lot of information at agency websites such as thefca.co.uk, but it is also good to give them a call and have a chat. The process of fostering can sound overwhelming and daunting, and sometimes gathering your information, and then reaching out and talking to someone is just what you need to do.
Get Assessed and Apply to Be a Foster Parent
After you have made contact with an agency, you then have to complete the relevant application forms. When you complete the required forms, you also agree to be assessed. Local council assessments and independent assessments are carried out to ensure that there are no safeguarding issues or concerns. When you are going through the assessment period it is useful to reach out to friends and family as they can give you valuable support. If assessments and applications are correctly submitted and completed, then you will be approved to foster, and you will be then waiting for your first placement.