Fostering children is potentially one of the most rewarding things anyone could do. But could YOU foster a child? How will you decide whether it’s something you can do? This guide offers a few simple pointers.
If you’re considering the idea of fostering children you’ve probably had to ask yourself a few soul-searching questions. It’s hardly surprising either, but what kind of things concern you most?
5 Common Concerns You Might Have
Like everyone else who’s attracted to foster caring, you will question your own beliefs about what it involves and whether you will ‘fit the bill’ as a foster carer. Maybe you’ve asked yourself some of these things:
- Am I going to meet all the requirements?
- Will the role live up to my expectations?
- Have I got the right skills and experience?
- Will the role fit in with my circumstances?
- How will I handle the challenges ahead?
These are all things worth considering before you take your interest further. So, let’s look at each of them in a bit more detail.
Will You Meet the Requirements?
Of course, you have to consider the fostering requirements because unless you meet them, you won’t be able to foster. The good news is, most of the things that you think might exclude you probably won’t!
You might think that some aspect of your past, (or present) lifestyle will rule you out, or perhaps you’ve just got a fear of being rejected. In reality, fostering services providers need real people with real-life experiences, so they are likely to welcome your application with open arms.
Still sceptical? You can get a good idea of whether you’re likely to meet the requirements by completing this short ‘Could You Foster quiz’. Then you’ll be in the right position to move your interest forward.
Will the Role Match Your Expectations?
Now you understand the criteria more fully, and believe you meet them what will fostering a child be like? Will it be what you expect?
Actually doing it is the only way to find out if it lives up to your expectations. However, learning more about what being a foster carer involves will help you to make an informed decision about whether to give it a go.
If you want more information about fostering children, you’ll find plenty of articles available on this site and others. Talk to people you know and trust, especially if they foster children. Seek their opinion and get their advice, because there’s nothing like ‘hearing it from the horse’s mouth’.
Better still, become a part of the CAREHUB fostering community where you’ll enjoy access to a powerful collection of information, training, and networking resources.
Have You Got the Skills to Foster?
Most people who think about becoming a foster carer have moments of self-doubt before making a firm enquiry. But here’s the thing: all that has gone into making you ‘you’ can have a positive influence on your approach to fostering.
Something to bear in mind as you go forward with your interest is that you bring with you a unique perspective on life (with all its ups and downs). You don’t need to have any expert knowledge or specialist skills.
If you talk to any experienced foster carer, they will tell you that the sort of things you need the most are a caring nature, resilience, optimism, and a willingness to learn how to deliver high-quality care to your foster children.
Browse through our comprehensive list of frequently asked questions and get all your questions about fostering answered. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, just ask us – and we’ll happily answer it.
Will Being a Foster Carer Fit in with Your Circumstances?
There’s no doubt it will have a big impact on you, your family and your everyday life. Foster caring can use all the personal qualities you possess. But it will have a huge and beneficial impact on the child you care for. Of course, you wouldn’t expect it to be easy – it isn’t!
There will be times when everything runs smoothly and you get a deep sense of satisfaction because of the progress your foster child is making. There will also be times when you face challenges that almost drive you to despair.
As with any new job, you will need to think about how the role will fit in with your circumstances (and lifestyle). These are some of the areas you might want to consider:
Example – will your current state of health allow you to deliver a good standard of care to your foster child?
Example – is fostering a child going to be financially viable for you?
Example – Have you got a spare bedroom and has your house/flat generally got enough space?
Example – can you provide your foster child with an environment where they will be safe?
Example – how will any family members who live with you feel about you becoming a foster carer?
Example – How will your job, your partner’s job, or both, fit alongside fostering children?
How Will You Handle the Challenges Ahead?
The process of becoming a foster carer in itself could seem like a bit of a challenge. If you go ahead, there will be more challenges on the way, as with any worthwhile job.
You will be supported and guided through the process by your fostering agency. And you will be trained in the necessary skills you need to foster. Each time you overcome a challenge, it will lift you up, and make it easier for you to overcome new ones.
If you have read everything above and considered all the points, you’ve covered a lot of ground. By preparing yourself in this way you will be in a better position to cope with what lies ahead. So, grab hold of that first idea you had about fostering; that generous impulse that set you wondering if you could make a real difference in a child’s life.
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