As part of Foster Care Fortnight, Excel Fostering, an independent agency based in Burnley, has produced a myth-busting guide to explain why there’s no such thing as the perfect foster carer.
Many people dismiss their own chances of being selected due to misconceptions about the kind of people who would be suitable. Men and women of all ages and from all backgrounds could be the perfect fit for a child looking for a safe and stable home in and around Burnley.
Here are the 10 most commonly asked questions, and the honest answers to help you make an informed choice.
1. “I can’t foster because I’m single”
Being single does not prevent you from being able to foster. Fostering as a single parent may take a little extra energy, as you won’t have the support from a partner, but it’s definitely possible to foster as a single parent.
2. “I can’t foster because I don’t own a house”
You do not need to own a house in order to foster, You will need to demonstrate stability if you are renting a property, and your home must have a spare bedroom for a child in order to comply with the fostering requirements to become a foster carer.
3. “I can’t foster because of my sexuality”
Sexual orientation is not a consideration when determining eligibility for foster care. Whether you are gay, bisexual, straight or other, this will not affect your ability to become a foster carer. Fostering requires a specific set of character and personality traits – but sexual orientation is not one of those requirements.
4. “I can’t foster because I’m retired”
There is no upper age limit on fostering. As long as you are fit and healthy, and also able to care for younger children, whether or not you are retired will not affect your ability to foster. Fostering is often deemed as a full-time career – so being retired means you will have more time to provide attention to the young children in your care.
5. “I can’t foster because I have a baby”
Having a new baby in your home will not necessarily prevent you from being able to foster. However, your current situation will be assessed – meaning that it is ensured that you are able to provide care to both your new-born and the foster child under your care.
6. “I can’t foster because I don’t want to give up work”
Working alongside fostering is possible – however, fostering is often considered a full-time job, so if you want to remain in your current job, this will need to be assessed during the application process. For example, if you are fostering as a couple and one person remains working while the other takes care of the children.
7. “I can’t foster because I have pets”
Having pets will not prevent you from being able to foster. However, there are some guidelines that will need to be adhered to. You will need to ensure your pets are healthy, the gardens are kept clean and the pets are kept under control.
8. “I can’t foster because I’m disabled”
Having a disability or medical problem will not necessarily prevent you from fostering. The nature of your condition will be taken into consideration, as well as your ability to care for young children.
9. “I can’t foster because I’m unemployed”
Fostering is considered as a full-time career – so being unemployed is not an issue that would cause ineligibility for fostering, as it’s often recommended that fostering becomes your only job. However, from a financial perspective, you would have to prove that you are financially stable and that you have the means to effectively manage your lifestyle alongside caring for a young child.
10. “I can’t foster because I don’t have the experience”
To become a foster carer, you will need to have some degree of experience with children. If you do not have children yourself, that’s not an issue – the experience does not have to come from your own children. You could gain experience with children through volunteer work or, in some cases, through your profession.
Excel provides excellent training and support for foster carer candidates during the process, to ensure that people are confident they can provide a stable and nourishing environment for children to flourish. And that support doesn’t stop once you’re matched with a child, there’s ongoing training to help at every stage.
Interested? Here’s what to do next
The first step needn’t be daunting as the friendly team at Excel are waiting to answer any question and query you have. You can call them on 01253 712734 or contact them for more information online here.