Within the United Kingdom there are around 80,000 children and teenagers in public care with around 48,000 being looked after by foster care families. Without foster carers a huge number of children would be denied the family stability they need, demonstrating that the current number of foster carers must be sustained and increased for the future.
You might be thinking about becoming a foster carer yourself or simply want to find out more. The foster care process is easy to understand when you know how it works and it pays to be fully informed before making up your mind about whether this is an option you want to pursue.
Foster care is an integral facet of society as children may not be able to live with their natural family for a variety of different reasons. If a parent becomes ill they may not be able to care for their child until they have recovered. Parents could be going through a relationship breakdown or a child might be experiencing abuse or neglect.
Whatever the situation, if a child cannot live at home then alternative accommodation must be sought and this is where foster carers enter the equation.
Foster carers provide a safe temporary home for children and young people who cannot live with their birth parents. A foster carer may be required to look after a child for any period of time, ranging from a few days to a year or more, and anything in between.
After a foster care placement many children will return to their family home. Some children may receive long term support either through continued fostering or via adoption, residential care or being supported to live independently.
If you would like to become a foster carer then there are a few things you must do to begin the process. First and foremost there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to fostering as carers are a diverse group of people from a wide range of backgrounds.
The common thread that runs amongst foster carers is the desire to make a difference to the lives of children who need help. Foster carers are relied upon to offer unconditional support to the children placed with them.
It is beneficial if you have any related child care experience but what is more important is your drive and enthusiasm to make a full-time commitment to fostering.
A variety of practical and financial support will be made available to you if you decide to become a foster carer. The support includes an allowance to cover costs, tax relief and help getting a State Pension.
If foster care is something you are interested in then you should contact your local fostering service and arrange a meeting to begin the process.
Adam Singleton writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.