By Alice Porter
A great foster parent needs to be patient, caring and supportive and if you possess these characteristics, then you can become a foster parent. If you’re single and are looking to foster a child, then your marital status will not get in the way — at least within the United Kingdom. It doesn’t matter if you’re male, female, single or in a relationship, if you can provide a stable and nurturing home environment, then you are the perfect candidate. No two children are the same and similarly parents will differ with their parenting style, so one of the most important qualities to possess is an open mind, if you have an open mind and a big heart then fostering could be for you.
What are the steps to become foster parent in the U.K.?
Before you take the important step of becoming a foster parent and letting a child into your life it’s important to do a lot of research and find out everything that is involved. Local councils are doing fantastic work to help secure fostering homes for children, and alternatively private fostering agencies offer guidance and support throughout the process, so it’s important to also decide how you are going to initiate the process before anything else. The initial step in the process is going to be a home visit, where basic information will be taken about yourself, all of your family history and your life experience. This is a precautionary measure taken to understand you, your motives and what you can offer to a child.
How long does it take to become a foster parent?
The length of the application process really does vary from carer to carer, but on average it takes around 4-6 months to complete your assessment and to be approved as a foster carer in the United Kingdom. A social worker will be allocated to you and will most likely visit you on 10 different occasions to make sure that you tick all of the boxes, this can last for a few months. During this time the ‘Form F Report’ will be completed, which is essentially a gathering of more in depth, including in depth family history details and medial checks. Before you can be approved to become a foster parent you will need to complete a 3-4-day course that will teach you almost everything you need to know about foster caring (in theory). After the Form F Report has been completed and discussed at length then the process of placing a child within your care can begin.
Can I foster if I have my own children?
Fostering a child is a really selfless act of kindness, and having your own children at home shows that you can provide a loving and stable environment for potential foster children. Your parental experience actually makes you an ideal candidate to foster a child, many people actually fail to take their experience into consideration if they are looking to be a foster parent. The only thing to take into consideration is that your foster placement shouldn’t be older than your oldest child.
Fostering can be a really rewarding experience, so if you feel that you have the patience and supportive home that can benefit a child in need during their transition period, then definitely consider reaching out and beginning the fostering process.
About the Author
Alice Porter is a freelance writer who lives in Manchester, England. She has a real passion for foster care and child care and was raised with several foster siblings. Alice feels connected to the journey of children finding their forever homes, and you can find her at charity events and seminars raising awareness for the cause. Nothing is more rewarding to her than seeing a child regain their confidence and find peace with their families and themselves.