Welcoming a foster child into your home is a big step and it’s important that you take the time to decide whether fostering is right for you and the rest of your family.
To become a foster parent there are a few things to consider, and also some criteria that you have to meet. In the UK you have to be at least 21 years old (although by law you can apply to foster from 18), you have to have the space making sure the spare bedroom is big enough for a young person to live in, and you have to be a full-time resident in the UK or have leave to remain.
Once you have met the criteria, and are ready to foster your first child or young adult, you will receive an allowance all depending on the type of care and the age of the child. On average, fostering agencies pay a basic weekly allowance of around £450 per week, and this is for all ages of foster children. Make sure to visit the HMRC website for more information about additional benefits you will be entitled to receive.
The benefits of becoming a foster parent are huge.
Make an amazing difference
Being able to make a positive difference to a vulnerable child or young person is the main reason behind people becoming foster carer. Typically there are several, often complex reasons why children end up needing a safe and secure home with a foster family. With your support, encouragement, and commitment you can give them what they desperately need in life – love, care, and attention.
You can still work and foster
The great thing about becoming a foster carer is that most fostering agencies provide a great amount of flexibility. If you are looking to still be able to work whilst fostering there are a number of foster placement types to suit your individual needs.
A chance to learn new skills
You have the ability to communicate and converse with many other great foster carers throughout the fostering community. It’s important to remember that when you foster you also foster from your local community too, so not only does the positive contribution you make as a foster parent impact the child or young person you are caring for, it also impacts the local community around you them as well.
After you have done your research (which is highly suggested), you could be fostering children who perhaps go to the same school as your children or participate in the same out-of-school activities as them. Regardless of your situation as a foster carer you become a well-respected asset to your community, and might even inspire your friends to become part of the fostering community.
Everyone has the opportunity to become a foster parent – whether you’re gay, straight, single, married, divorced, or widowed. It’s a sense of accomplishment – providing much-needed care, support, and love to a vulnerable child or young person is the ultimate reward.