There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding foster care that can deter potential foster parents or create misconceptions about the system. Here are some common myths about fostering that need to be addressed:
‘I’m single so I can’t become a foster carer’.
It doesn’t matter whether you are single, married, divorced or co-habiting. Our foster carers need to have the desire to make a difference to the lives of children in their care, and we strongly believe this can be achieved as a single carer. We encourage our foster carers to build a strong support network around them for the days they may need some extra support from family and friends. At Family Care, you are part of a larger team that consist of Support Workers, Supervising Social Workers (SSW’s), in-house therapists and fellow foster carers who are dedicated to supporting you and the young people in your care.
‘I can’t foster because I’m gay.’
This is a common myth about fostering. Being gay does not disqualify you from becoming foster carers. We encourage gay and lesbian individuals/couples to make a life changing difference and welcome young people into their home. Fostering is about providing a loving and supportive environment for children in need, and the focus is on the capabilities and commitment of the potential foster parents, not their sexual orientation. It’s a rewarding and essential way to make a positive impact on the lives of children in the foster care system.
‘I rent my property so I can’t foster.’
You can become a foster carer if you rent your home; owning your home is not a strict requirement for fostering. However, if you rent, you will need to check with your landlord/landlady and your lease agreement to ensure that fostering children is allowed in your rented property. Some landlords/landlady’s or property management companies may have specific rules or restrictions regarding fostering or the number of occupants in the home.
‘I can’t foster, I’m too old.’
There is no upper age limit to foster, however, you do need to be at least 21 years old to qualify to become a foster carer. If you are in good health, mentally and physically, and have a high energy level, you can certainly become a foster carer. If you are retired, it may provide you with more time to dedicate to fostering, but it’s important to consider how your retirement lifestyle aligns with the needs of foster children.
‘I have pets so I can’t foster.’
Yes, many foster carers have dogs, cats, and all manner of household pets. Every animal is different, and all your household pets will be assessed as part of the application process. During the foster care application and assessment process, you will have an opportunity to discuss your pets and demonstrate that they will not pose a risk to the safety and well-being of the foster children. Additionally, you may be asked about your plan for caring for your pets and ensuring their needs are met while you are fostering.
‘I don’t have my own biological children so I can’t foster’.
Again, this is a common myth about fostering. Not everyone is able to have their own children, so this does not disqualify you from becoming a foster carer. If you can provide a safe, loving environment and meet the emotional and physical needs of the young people in your care, you can foster. We provide regular training to ensure our foster carers have all the skills needed, and there may be times when additional training might be required depending on the needs of a young person. We will provide this to ensure the needs of a child or young person are met. All the training costs are covered by Family Care.
‘I can’t foster because I work.’
This isn’t true. When you become a foster carer, it’s expected that your first obligation is to the child in care, and this does become a 24/7 job. However, fostering may turn out to be a sporadic job at times and you might not always have a young person in your care. Without a young person in your care, you will not receive any payments. When you enquire to become a foster carer, you can discuss your job and your desire to keep it. Arrangements can often be made to accommodate your job alongside fostering.
‘I don’t drive so I can’t foster.’
The short answer is yes, but it might be difficult at times. Young people in foster care often attend many more meetings and appointments than other children, and you will be responsible for transporting to/from these meetings. You must also attend training at our offices based in the Northwest or the Midlands (depending on your location). If you’re considering becoming a foster parent and don’t drive, it’s important to have a thoughtful plan in place for meeting the transportation needs of the foster children you care for.
Could You Be a Foster Parent?
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 benefits 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.
Embarking on the journey of fostering is a significant decision that can profoundly impact your family and the life of a young person in need.
By preparing yourself, choosing the right time and place for conversations, and approaching the topic with openness and honesty, you can foster a supportive and understanding environment.
Addressing concerns, sharing resources, seeking professional guidance when needed, and showing patience and understanding are essential steps in navigating this process together.
Family Care understands the importance of support for foster carers and is committed to providing the necessary assistance throughout this incredible journey.
With our dedicated team by your side, you can begin this fulfilling experience knowing that help and guidance are just a call away.
Together, you can make a positive difference in a child’s life, creating a loving and nurturing home that will leave a lasting impact.