Although the fostering community here in the UK is huge and there are tens of thousands of children currently living with a foster parent, there is still a major shortage of foster carers. The demand for foster homes is continually increasing and the care system needs the support of people who have a big heart and a spare bedroom.
Becoming a foster carer is incredibly rewarding, however, there is no denying that it is a huge commitment. Often, before applying to a fostering agency, people will take to the internet to learn more about what being a foster parent entails. Unfortunately, there is a lot of incorrect information out there about fostering and this can result in people not taking their foster application further for the wrong reasons. So, to set the record straight, below we have debunked some of the most common misconceptions about fostering in the UK.
“You can’t become a foster carer if you’re single”
Many don’t realise they are eligible to foster and there is nothing stopping you from being a single carer. There are only a few basic criteria to meet to become a foster carer and the most important thing is what kind of person you are. Lots of successful foster carers are single carers and with a good support network around you, you can be an exceptional single foster carer too.
“It isn’t fair to foster if you have biological children”
It isn’t uncommon for people to worry about things such as favouritism when fostering alongside being a biological parent, however, having children shouldn’t put you off becoming a foster carer. In fact, having the experience of caring for your own children will mean you have the skills and understanding of child development, making you ideal for a foster carer role.
“You need to have experience caring for others to be a foster carer”
Many assume that you need to have qualifications and experience in the child care sector to become a foster carer, but this isn’t actually the case. Whilst the experience you have in this regard will be taken into consideration as part of the foster carer assessment process, it isn’t essential to have experience childcare experience, however caring for vulnerable individuals is essential and you will be provided with training by a fostering agency.
“There is no support out there for foster carers”
Having a good support network is really important when you’re a foster carer and this network doesn’t just have to be family and friends, there is a lot of professional and local support out there too. It’s important to note that you won’t be alone when fostering and an independent fostering agency will always be there to assist you. At Fostering UK, we provide 24/7 support to our foster families and we also provide our foster carers with membership to the Fostering Network, which is dedicated to supporting carers.
“Being a foster carer is a huge financial strain”
When fostering in the UK, you will actually receive a fostering allowance to help you care for the child, so you won’t be expected to pay for everything out of your own pocket. This allowance is designed to help fund all elements of the foster child’s life and it will range from around £400 to £700 per week per child, depending on the type of foster placement.
“You have no control over which children you care for”
It’s a huge misconception that a child will simply be placed in your care and you won’t have any say over the matter, however, the fostering process doesn’t work like this. Independent fostering agencies are passionate about ensuring their foster families are as happy as possible and they will have a solid matching process. Finding the right match is an absolute priority.
Becoming a foster carer in Milton Keynes
Now that you know the truth about becoming a foster carer, you can continue with your application and start your fostering journey. It is fair to say that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear about fostering and if you’re looking for more information about this care service, get in touch with a fostering agency, they will be able to answer any questions that you may have.
If you’re interested in fostering in Milton Keynes, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Fostering UK today. We pride ourselves on providing opportunities for foster children and young people to achieve their full potential and live happy and fulfilling lives, and we will gladly help you to become an amazing foster carer. Our team will be here for you every step of the way and we provide comprehensive training programmes to those who are new to foster caring. Feel free to explore the rest of our website today to find out more about fostering with us.