You can find out more about whether you can foster here. As a country, we are crying out for more foster carers. There are over 70,000 children in care in the UK needing foster homes. Yet many suitable people are put off the idea of becoming a foster carer because they believe a myth.
Let’s debunk the 10 most prevalent myths:
- I’m too young:
Unlikely. The minimum age for being a foster carer is 21. What’s important is that you are able to offer the living arrangements suitable for a child in care, and provide the support they need
- I’m too old:
There is no upper age limit on who can become a foster carer. More important than your age, is your willingness to take a child in,provide the care they need, and have the energy and personal health to do so. Part of the assessment will look at your physical capabilities, but age it self isn’t a barrier to becoming a foster carer.
- I’m single:
Not a problem. You do not need to be in a relationship to be a foster carer. In fact, some children are more likely to thrive in care environments where there is just a single carer.
- I’m gay:
Your sexuality bears no relevance to your ability to be a good foster carer. You will be assessed for your suitability just like a heterosexual foster carer.
- My house is too small:
A child being placed will need a room of their own within your home. However, this doesn’t mean you need an enormous home. As long as you can provide a room for the child, equipped with the furniture they need,the size of your property is secondary to your ability to provide care.
- I don’t own my own house
You don’t need to be a homeowner to be a foster carer. You can be a foster carer when living in rented accommodation, for example. As long as the child has physical space and security, the type of property and ownership is not important.
- I’m not from the UK:
You will need to either have British citizenship or have permanent leave to stay in the UK. You don’t therefore, necessarily, have to be British, or have grown up here. It will, however, be important to support a child in their local community.
- I’m not white:
Your race has no bearing on becoming a foster carer. In fact, we actively welcome applications to become a foster carer from the full spectrum of racial backgrounds in the UK. Where possible, it is important to place children within ethnically and culturally familiar households who understand things such as identity, discrimination and racism.
- I’m male:
We welcome foster carer applications from men and women, both single and in partnerships. Once again, your suitability as a carer will be assessed with no relevance to your gender. Some children are better suited to placements with one or other gender, but it doesn’t stop you from becoming a foster carer and accepting other children.
- I don’t have money:
We, and the government, recognise that undertaking foster care is costly. Raising children, particularly those in care, can require a high degree of resources. If you are in a couple then it is unlikely that both of you will need to stop any previous employment. However, you are also entitled to foster allowances and payments. These are aimed to meet the financial costs of a child in foster care, and provide you with a competitive income.
Becoming a foster carer is a rewarding option open to far more would-be carers than people realise. If we’ve debunked a myth for you, and you want to find out more about becoming a foster carer, call us on 0800 023 4561.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.