We explore what makes fostering an extraordinary career
Are you considering a career move into foster care? This exciting step can be genuinely life-changing, but there is a lot to consider before you start your foster career. From making a difference in someone’s life to developing key skills, fostering can be a rewarding vocational career path all on its own, providing financial stability alongside emotional fulfillment.
Below, we explore the five benefits of starting a fostering career, including financial allowances and whether you need experience. By knowing the following, you can make an informed decision to become a foster carer.
Working and Fostering
Firstly, it is crucial to understand whether foster care can be a full-time career. The good news is that continuing your career while becoming a foster carer is possible. However, the majority of carers decide to make fostering their full-time career. Children, especially if they opt for sibling fostering or fostering a child with a disability, present unique challenges that require a full-time role within the home. Fostering is a 24/7 responsibility, and this is especially key whether you foster a baby, child, siblings, or a child with a disability.
A foster carer needs to be on hand not only in the home but also to attend critical appointments and training, as well as medical appointments and visits to school.
The leading question of many potential carers is regarding finances. There are financial allowances that enable carers to turn the role into a full-time one without the uncertainty of economic challenges. For example, a self-employed foster carer can receive a foster care allowance of approximately £435 per child per week. What’s more, by fostering with FCA specifically, you may also qualify for additional financial allowances, including a 14-night paid respite and a summer and winter bonus payment of £250 yearly.
Benefits of Fostering as a Career
There is a vast array of benefits that come with being a foster carer, whether it is your career or not. These benefits include:
- You make a difference: This is an obvious point but one that is worth repeating again and again. When you become a foster carer, and you open your home up to a child who has been in the care system, you allow the child to find somewhere safe to call their own. Every child needs a space where they feel heard and cared for, and that’s primarily what a foster home gives them. This is one of the reasons we state that children need their own bedroom should they be placed in your home. Children need security and safety; your home can be the perfect place for them. Furthermore, sibling fostering enables you to make a difference not just to a child but to a family.
- You have job security: There is always a demand for foster homes throughout the country, so you will play a vital role throughout your career. As detailed above, financial aid during your career also provides essential stability for your household. The number of children seeking a foster home is steady, whereas the number of suitable homes has dropped, so there will always be someone you can help.
- You have job satisfaction: How many other careers can you go home from daily and feel like you’ve really positively impacted someone’s life? The sense of fulfillment you gain from fostering is exceptional and is why many foster carers continue to foster for decades.
- You have flexibility: Fostering is no longer just for one child. Now, you could choose to do a range of different fostering. From short-term fostering to parent and child fostering, where a parent and their baby stay with you for a period when they need extra support, there’s a place within the system where you can make your mark.
- Grow and develop key skills: Becoming a foster carer allows you to develop and hone essential skills, including patience and communication. You will also develop critical skills in compassion and conflict resolution. These skills will be indispensable as a foster carer and crucial in daily life and any career you choose if you decide to restart a full-time career after fostering. What’s more, growing your problem-solving and crisis-management skills will be vital for moving forward in your fostering career.
Do You Need Experience?
The only “experience” needed is the experience of being ready to learn! You don’t need experience as a parent, you don’t need to be married, you don’t even need to own your home. As long as you have an open heart and mind (and spare room), you can start your fostering assessment. Ideally, to foster with FCA, you need to be able to commit to the fostering role full-time.
However, bear in mind that the journey to becoming a foster carer can take between four and six months. This time allows for training and support to prepare you for your new role.
How to Start Your Fostering Career
Choosing to foster as a unique career allows you to make a difference in a child’s life, helping shape their future. Fostering is life-changing not only for the child but also for the carer.
Since 2019, there has been a downward trend in the number of applications and approved households for mainstream fostering (as per the Government’s national statistics published 8th November 2023).
That’s why now is the perfect time to make fostering your full-time role and truly make a difference to a child’s life.
To start this career, reach out to our team today, who can talk you through the application process and what you need to prepare and assess what type of fostering would suit you best. Should you wish to start your application, we will arrange a home visit (which can be undertaken virtually) in order to provide you with more information to prepare you to complete the application form.
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