Yes, fostering can be a fulfilling and rewarding career for those who have a passion for helping children and families in need.
‘Fostering’ refers to providing a temporary home and care to children who can’t live with their biological parents for various reasons, such as abuse, neglect, or parental incapacity.
With a shortage of 9,000 foster carers across the UK and 90 children coming into care every day, a career as a foster carer can be extremely rewarding. By providing a safe and loving home to children who need it the most, you can have a real positive impact on someone’s future.
Here are some key points to consider if you’re interested in fostering as a career:
Do I meet the basic requirements needed to become a foster carer?
Although no formal qualifications are needed to become a foster carer, you must meet the basic requirements for your application to progress:
- You must have at least one spare bedroom
- You must be at least 21 years old
- You must have UK citizenship
If you meet these basic requirements and are still interested in progressing, further and in-depth checks will occur, including family history, enhanced DBS checks, financial checks, and character references.
Do I have a strong support network?
A career as a foster carer can be extremely rewarding and enjoyable, but some days may be harder than others. Although you’ll be supported by your Supervising Social Worker (SSW), our in-house therapists, and the wider fostering team, it’s important that you have a strong support network of friends and family around you.
Can I be flexible with my time?
As a foster carer, you will be required to attend professional meetings, medical appointments, therapy sessions and so forth to accommodate the needs of the young person in your care. Although we try our best to schedule these meetings ahead of time, it doesn’t always work this way. It’s key that our foster carers can be flexible with their time and advocate for their young person when required.
Can I commit to the training required by Family Care?
Fostering requires more than just ‘good enough’ parenting, and foster care training should reflect that.
We provide a full calendar of foster carer training events focusing on the skills and knowledge you will need to effectively support a young person. Some are online training courses, and some are face-to-face.
Our training calendar is issued in November every year, so you can plan ahead and earmark the courses you must attend, as well as those you would like to. You will also meet with your Supervising Social Worker to work on a Carer Development Plan (training plan) for the year ahead.
What allowances and rewards would I receive?
We believe that it’s important to recognise and compensate our foster cares for the amazing work they do. That’s why we provide our carers with a fostering allowance that’s broken down into two parts: a boarding-out fee and a professional fee:
- The boarding-out fee is paid to cover the daily costs of caring for a young person and is based on the government’s national minimum rates. This includes everything from activities and hobbies, transport for school, family time and health appointments, to pocket money and savings.
- The professional fee, on the other hand, recognises the unique skills and expertise of our foster carers and is based on their registration level. We offer three grades, and as you gain more experience and develop your skills, you can move up the grades.
That’s why we offer a combination of a ‘boarding-out’ fee, which is based on the government’s national minimum rates (between £154 – £233 per week), and a professional fee.
This means our foster carers can earn between £407 – £750 per week, depending on the age and needs of the young person they care for and the type of fostering provided.
Our foster carers also benefit from two- weeks annual leave (pro-rata), foster carer long service rewards, 24/7 support, refer a friend scheme of £1,500, regular support groups and a fully funded Level 3 diploma for the Children and Young People’s workforce qualification.
Could You Foster?
The shortage of foster carers in the UK greatly affects vulnerable children.
This can result in children being placed far from their loved ones and being separated from their siblings, as well as their school and friends.
Did you know that historically, 70-80% of foster placements have been within 20 miles of the child’s home? While this is beneficial for many children who can maintain their school and friendship groups, it also means that 20-30% of placements are further away.
For children coming to live with our foster families at an average age of 10, a change of school is often inevitable. However, we are dedicated to finding families in local areas with high demand to minimise disruptions.
If you live in the Northwest or the Midlands and are interested in exploring becoming a foster carer, we are here to support you every step of the way.
Get in touch with us by completing our short inquiry form online, or call us at 0800 5 677677.
There is no obligation for anything more than a chat.
Keep in mind that your role as a foster parent is incredibly valuable, and your dedication to the well-being of these children will make a lasting impact on their lives. At Family Care, we’re here to support you every step of the way. You’ll find a supportive and caring community that puts the needs of our foster families and children first.