You may be considering fostering, but worried about what it entails. We look at the requirements for becoming a foster carer.
Being a foster carer can be an incredibly rewarding experience, giving you the opportunity to provide a safe and nurturing home for a child who needs it.
But many potential carers are discouraged from speaking to fostering agencies because of common misconceptions about what being a carer involves and who can do it.
“Although people who knew me well said I would be a great foster carer, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it, that I’d made a mistake or that I wouldn’t enjoy the changes to my life,” said Amy, a foster carer with Team Fostering. “I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“As soon as Holly* came to live with us I enjoyed the challenges and the good times, spending time helping her, playing with her and getting to know her.
“It has enabled me to enjoy having more time with my own family, which now includes a new-born grandson, and spending more time at home.”
To help more people discover their potential, we’ve teamed up with the experts at not-for-profit Team Fostering to help dispel some of the main fostering myths.
‘I am too old’
There is no upper age limit to become a foster carer although agencies will look at your general health and wellbeing.
More life experience can actually help you become a better foster carer.
‘I can’t foster because I’m single’
Lots of foster carers are single – it is all about having support in place in your personal life and with your chosen agency.
For example, Team Fostering has a 24-hour support package in place and works with carers to consider who they have in their life to offer practical and emotional support if they need it.
‘Having my own children means I can’t foster’
You can become a foster carer even if you have your own children living at home.
However, there are certain restrictions dependent on agency and area. Team Fostering would require your children to be over 10 years old. This ensures stability for you as a family as well as for any child you look after.
Team offer various support and involvement to birth children in foster homes, including a celebration of their part in their parents’ career.
‘I don’t know if I can foster because I’m in a same-sex relationship’
People in same-sex relationships, as well as single LGBT people, can absolutely become foster carers.
Team Fostering has recently signed up as an agency member to New Family Social, supporting LGBT foster carers across the country, and currently work with several LGBT foster carers.
‘I can’t say no to a referral’
You can absolutely choose not to accept a referral if you feel the child will not be the right fit for your family.
“I am so pleased we waited for the right match for our family, as we really enjoy having Holly as part of our family,” said Amy.
Find out more
Team Fostering has been rated Outstanding by Ofsted. As not-for-profit any surplus revenue goes straight back into supporting carers and children.
The agency provides comprehensive support, innovative training and competitive allowances to foster carers, and is renowned for offering unique holiday and activity days to children and foster carers alike.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, call the team on 0800 292 2003 or visit www.teamfostering.co.uk
*Names have been changed