There are lots of people out there with the skills to be fantastic foster parents but who have never considered it as a career for various reasons. This article explores some of the practicalities of becoming a foster carer as a career and how it could be the perfect opportunity for you.
What Skills Do I Need to Be a Foster Carer?
The skills needed to be a foster carer are similar to those needed to be a parent. Being supportive and understanding is crucial in this role, as sometimes you may be caring for a child (and changing their life!) who has experienced trauma.
In addition to this, you need to be willing to work with a team to support the child in practical ways, such as attending hearings with them, for example.
It’s also extremely useful to have a great sense of humor. Being able to connect with the children who come to stay with you is paramount in breaking down barriers and helping them come out of their shells.
Aside from this, there are no set qualifications for becoming a foster carer.
Do I Need Anything Else?
You do need to be over 21 (or over 18 depending on the agency) to foster a child. You also need to have a spare bedroom in your home, and also not have any restrictions or convictions related to working with children or young people.
It is also a bonus if you have your own transport as it will make it easier to get children to and from appointments, etc., but this is not a necessity.
How Much Are Foster Carers Paid?
As a foster carer, you will be required to register as self-employed and be responsible for paying your own tax. However, this does mean you can offset certain costs against the money you make as a foster carer. Fostering allowance varies depending on the agency, age of the child, and other factors, but you could earn up to £435 per week per child as a foster parent.
How Do I Apply?
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster carer, then you should request an information pack in the first instance. You can contact FCA Scotland for further information (they also have England-based offices) and register your interest.
The process of becoming a foster carer can take around four to six months and involves DRB checks, an assessment of your home, and interviews with yourself, family members, people you have relationships with, and sometimes employers as well. This is to establish whether you are a good fit as a foster carer.
Fostering can be an extremely rewarding career. Taking a child who has found themselves in the care system, and helping them grow their confidence, skills and hope is a very special and worthwhile job.
To apply, you will usually need a spare bedroom and be over 21 years of age. You will also need to be willing to undertake a foster carer assessment.