So what is fostering? It is the process by which a family or a person provides a home for children who cannot live with their parents at that point in their lives. A foster carer provides a safe, secure, loving and caring environment for these kids. Fostering should not be mistaken for adoption. Adoption provides legal authority to the parents who adopt the child whereas in the case of fostering the child’s legal authority still belongs to the birth parents or the local authority.
Why become a foster carer?
There are so many children out there in need of good homes. Life has been tough on them and you have a chance to give them a second chance at life. According to Julia Harris from Perpetual Fostering, there is a glaring deficit of children needing foster homes compared to those available right now. By opting to become foster parents you will not only be adding to your own life as fostering is extremely rewarding but also be helping a lot of children who will forever be grateful for your time, space and most importantly love they receive from you.
Steps for becoming a foster parent
- Speak to a social worker
Get in touch with a foster care organization in your region and have a chat with one of their social workers to understand better about becoming a foster parent. They will require some of your basic details as well to gauge whether you are fit for becoming a foster parent and how interested are you. This step also consists of a home visit. This means a social worker will visit your home to see whether it is a safe and fit place for them to be able to send a child to foster care.
- Acquire the skills by going through a training
Taking care of a child is no walk in the park. Taking care of a foster child who has had a rough past and needs to adjust to a new home and family can be even more challenging. Getting some training and understanding what all fostering entails is extremely crucial for both the foster parent and more importantly the child. Usually the training is for 3 days and doesn’t contain any written tests but will help you learn and solve any doubts about fostering.
- Provide the organization with your details and references
The organization will require speaking to some of your close family and friends to understand on a personal level your capability of managing and taking care of a child. Ensuring that the children are in good and safe hands is the topmost priority and this ensures getting to know you on a more personal level.
- Clear any doubts you have about fostering with your social worker
Fostering can be a challenging task and since your ability to foster will impact the child directly it is crucial that before you take on this responsibility you are clear in your mind about what all fostering entails and the do’s and don’ts while becoming a foster parent. Use this opportunity to get answers to all the questions you have about fostering without hesitation because when you are prepared, you will be able to take better care and provide the best possible living condition to the child.
- Get reviewed by a selection committee
Finally, your application will be reviewed by a committee consisting of a few people. They will speak to your social worker to get his/her feedback on you and they will arrange a meeting with you as well. Giving a child to a person to take care is a big deal and all steps need to be taken to ensure that you are fit and suitable for becoming a foster parent.
Are you eligible to become a foster carer?
Few of the necessities of qualifying to apply for becoming a foster parent are:
- Over 21 years of age
- Have a spare bedroom
- As long as you are fit and healthy to take care of a child
- Not declared bankrupt in the past
- No criminal convictions
- Provides children with a family
Foster care helps children have a second chance in becoming a part of a family before they find their permanent homes and parents who adopt them. Adoption can take time. During that time if these children are left alone without experiencing what it is like to be in a good home and part of a loving family, this can have a negative impact on both their mental and physical growth.
- It provides a safe and stable environment for children
Many children do not have families for some of the other reason. Living life without a family can be extremely challenging both for the emotional and mental development of the child. By giving them a home and a normal childhood, fostering ensures a secure and safe life for these children. This also gives them a second chance at life which encourages them to become good human beings and helps them achieve their dreams.
- An opportunity for receiving a good education
Being in one single house and having stability also provides the children with a chance of going to a single school and being consistent. Constantly shifting from one school to another at a young age can be very challenging at that age. This can also hamper the child’s confidence and learning capabilities. By becoming a foster parent, you are giving these children a chance to have a good schooling and get educated well.
Benefits of becoming a Foster parent
- Helping children in need
- Get Trained
- Develop life-long bonds
- It pays!
So, yes fostering can be called a job; however, it is much more than simply a 9-5 job. Yes, it can be challenging, however, the experience and bonds developed with the children is irreplaceable and cannot compare to any other job.