Becoming a foster parent is not easy, but it is a satisfying and rewarding job. You will take care of a child as if they are your own. While people know more about adoption, fostering a child can be confusing if you don’t know where to start.
It usually takes about eight months from the initial enquiry. The procedure takes time because home visits are involved as well as some types of assessments. This article will explore how you can start your fostering journey.
Who Can Foster?
To become a foster parent, depending on the fostering service you apply to, you will need to pass specific criteria. For example, you will need to be a UK citizen or have indefinite leave to remain status. In addition, it would be best if you are over 18 years old; most care facilities require a minimum of 21 years.
You can work and foster, but that depends on the child’s age and how much taking care of them requires. It’s not necessary to own a home, rentals are accepted, but you will need to have a free room. Also, you aren’t entitled to take time off work to care for foster children.
Before starting your fostering path, you must pass a fostering assessment to check if you are qualified to be responsible for a child. Usually, a social worker will ask questions about yourself, your living situation, and your health. You will also need to provide two references of people that can vouch for you.
What Are Your Responsibilities?
If your application is successful, you will have a few responsibilities each time you take care of a child. First, you will need to work as a team with the foster facility, school, and the child’s birth family. As a foster parent, you should take notes and write reports about the child.
You should also attend mandatory meetings to see your progress. Foster parents should ensure the child lives in a healthy environment where they can discuss their feelings. To become a foster parent, you must participate in regular training to be updated with new childcare techniques.
Decide on What Type of Fostering Suits You
Depending on your situation and time, you can look at multiple foster care options. You can choose from short-term, long-term, emergency, and others. For example, with emergency care, you need to be prepared to receive a foster child in the middle of the night and provide them with a home for a few days. This type of emergency foster care is unplanned, and you will receive short notice of the new arrival.
It would help if you also decided on who you want to foster. You can select from newborns up to 18 years old, and some foster kids can stay with the new family until they are 21. With time, if all goes well, you can even apply to take care of children who need more support because of their disabilities.
Although the fostering path is not easy, it’s worth applying if you genuinely care about children. Giving a child a second home is something unique that not everyone can do.