At FCA Scotland, we know it’s important to ensure you’re in a financially stable position before applying to become a foster carer. The cost of living crisis also adds to any financial pressures too. While we do have many foster carers who work as well as foster, there are some key things to consider to ensure it’s going to work out well for you and the children in your care. Everybody’s situation is unique, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch where we can talk to you in more detail about your individual circumstances around the need to work and foster.
The facts about working and fostering
Many people actually work and foster – nearly 40% of foster carers hold down another job at the same time as fostering. Times have changed and not every household has two steady incomes, because not everybody who has a desire to foster is in a relationship or married. Soaring prices in our everyday lives also means an additional income might be necessary. What’s paramount though is the child’s welfare. As long as the child’s best interests are the main priority, it’s entirely possible to foster and have a second job.
There are things to consider though. Caring for a child in need is one of the most rewarding jobs, but you’ll need to think about whether balancing another job alongside it could prove tricky. For example, you’ll need to drop things to care for them when they’re sick, be available to take them to appointments and facilitate contact, and be at home during school holidays. Therefore, some foster carers find it easier to reduce their hours to part-time, or even give up work completely. But there are instances where it’s more feasible to have a second job, such as considering the age of the children you’re able to care for. Looking after teenagers who are more independent might be suited to those who want to work and foster. It also depends on whether the child has any complex needs that will require more time and attention.
If you want to work and foster, have you thought about:
- How flexible your employer is, and if they support your decision to foster a child?
- How many hours you’d be working?
- Whether you’re fostering as a single person or with a partner/spouse?
- If you have a strong support network who can be there for you if you have to work? This could be friends, family, coworkers, neighbours and other people in your life.
- What type of fostering you’re interested in and the age of the children you could care for? Younger children demand more physical supervision and attention, whereas teenagers and older children are generally more independent.
- Whether you’d want to care for a child with additional needs who might require specialist care and attention?
Even when foster carers do have another job alongside fostering, the child’s welfare and safety should always come first and be factored into their work/fostering balance.
Other considerations for foster carers who work
Foster carers play a pivotal role in giving vulnerable children a second chance to grow, develop and thrive, and with this comes a lot of hard work and responsibility. You need to support a child in all aspects of their care, including being there for them emotionally but also doing practical tasks.
Here are some of the day-to-day practical responsibilities of a foster carer.
- Provide daily care, such as cooking, washing clothes and helping with homework.
- Transport the child to medical appointments.
- Transport the child to school, youth clubs or sports games.
- Attend meetings with social workers and teachers.
- Attend any training courses to build your knowledge and support you in your role.
- Attend support groups and events with other foster families.
- Facilitate contact between a child and their birth family, which could involve taking them there or supervising the visit.
- Complete a daily care log to record all aspects of the young person’s growth and activity.
Whenever you work and foster, the child’s health, wellbeing and development needs should be met at all times. These young people have already experienced a lot of hurt and disruption in their lives, so it’s crucial you’re able to be there for them both practically and emotionally.
If you have a job but think you could also give a vulnerable child the love, support and stability they need please get in touch today. With the right circumstances and careful planning, it can be a success.
Take a look at the fostering process, get in touch or read through our FAQs if you are still unsure if you can foster.
Who can apply to become a foster carer?
Anyone can apply to foster with us. We welcome foster carers from all walks of life; no matter what your gender, age, race or sexual orientation. We do have criteria though:
- You need a spare room
- You need to be over 21
- You need to have British Citizenship or permanent leave to stay in the UK
Do I need any special qualifications or experience to foster?
No, we will give you all the training you need together with ongoing development and support.
Can a foster child share a bedroom?
No, every child and young person requires their own space, regardless of whether they’ve been raised in foster care.
A bedroom is a space in which children and young people can call theirs, giving them the much needed opportunity to play, discover, be imaginative and creative all without excessive disruptions. Some children who fostered may be troubled from previous experiences so providing a bedroom for them will help them to process events from their life and give them a place for time to reflect and think. Somewhere they can feel calm and relaxed.
Can you foster if you have pets?
Yes of course, pets are part of your family too. Animals can help children to relax and settle into a new home, but we do need to make sure there is no risk involved. As part of your assessment, we’ll complete a pet questionnaire to help us determine whether your pet is safe to be around foster children. We cannot accept applications from anybody who has a banned breed in the UK, as part of the Dangerous Dog Act.
Got some more questions?
Find out the answers here.
Can I foster if I'm single?
Of course! A lot of our foster carers at FCA Scotland are single men, women or parents.
Can I foster if I'm gay?
You can definitely foster no matter your sexuality. We are proud to welcome LGBTQ foster carers, so find out more about joining FCA Scotland today!
Am I too old to start fostering?
There is no upper age limit to becoming a foster carer, as long as you are able to care for a child and meet their needs.
Speak to our team
Whether you’re ready to start your journey or just want to chat to an expert, we're here to talk.