Ever considered fostering? Here is a useful article all about important things to consider.
Things to consider if you’re thinking about fostering
Fostering is an incredible way of improving a young person’s life. Whether you can’t have children yourself or just want to help a young person in need of a family, fostering may be hard work at times, but it’s also incredibly rewarding.
However, there are some things you need to consider first…
Are you physically able?
Most foster agencies will require you to undergo some form of medical evaluation, either by your GP or external assessor, in order to determine whether you’re physically able to look after a young person. This won’t be an issue for most, but if you are obese or have other serious health issues then this may affect your ability to foster.
Do you smoke?
The welfare of the young person is of utmost importance. Smoking doesn’t automatically mean you can’t foster, but some foster agencies state that smokers can’t foster a child under the age of five years old. You have to consider what health implications smoking may have on a child.
Do you drive?
Being able to drive is a major advantage when fostering, and if you don’t drive then it might count against you. You won’t be discounted entirely but not being able to drive may hamper you’re ability to undertake tasks such as taking the child to school or to the doctors if needed.
Do you have a criminal record?
You might think that having a criminal record will automatically rule you out of fostering but that’s not the case. Everyone who fosters will have to undergo a criminal record check (or DBS as it’s otherwise known) and there are various issues that will be taken into account. The safety of the young person is the most important thing, so the nature of the crime, how long ago it occurred and various other pertinent factors will be considered before a decision is made.
Are you in debt or have you been declared bankrupt?
It’s important that fosterers have the financial means by which to look after a young person, but being in debt doesn’t exclude you. You will receive a weekly allowance and your financial situation will be discussed in more detail in interviews.
Are you in a same-sex relationship?
Those in a same-sex relationship may wonder whether they’re suitable to foster, and the answer is a resounding YES! Same-sex couples should be treated the same way as any other potential fosterers by any reputable agency.
Do you have a spare room?
The general rule with most foster agencies is that each child you foster will need to have their own space and therefore you must have a spare room available.
Do you have pets?
For the vast majority of cases, having pets isn’t an issue when fostering. In fact, most of the time children can actually benefit from living with animals. There may be some exceptions, however, and this will be discussed during the assessment process.
These are just a few of many, many things that need to be considered when fostering. You can read more in this foster care FAQ to see whether you would make a suitable foster carer.