There are over 4500 children in foster care in Scotland as of July 2021. This number increases each year, with new foster kids needing a haven and stable home life. There is a great need for people who are willing to take on the role of foster carers to meet this demand.
Perhaps you have considered fostering but are sure your circumstances will rule you out. Maybe you have never had any children of your own and feel you lack the experience to foster. You would be surprised at the criteria for fostering, which are aimed at including as many foster carers as possible. Although all prospective foster carers are extensively vetted, your concerns may be misplaced. Read on to find out if you could be suitable and why you should apply to foster in Scotland.
You May Be Accepted, Despite Feeling That Your Status Counts Against You
Although each foster carer is different and comes from a diverse background, many applications succeed. You can come from any ethnic group and will not be ruled out based on your sexual orientation (individuals who identify as LGBT are not excluded from applying to be foster carers).
Your age will not count against you as long as you are over 21 years of age. The older person or couple who want to foster are encouraged to offer their services. You will have acquired unique life experiences that could prove invaluable when dealing with a traumatised foster child.
The premises where you live must contain a spare bedroom with the necessities for a foster child. But it does not matter whether you own the property or are renting it as a tenant. The only proviso when renting is that the agency will need permission from your landlord.
Are you single, divorced, widowed, or part of an LGBT couple? These factors will not stand in the way of you being considered as a foster carer.
You do need to be a permanent UK citizen or have living rights in the UK. This is to avoid disrupting the foster care a child is receiving.
Having a disability does not automatically disqualify you from becoming a foster carer. It all depends on your ability to take care of the foster child’s needs adequately.
No Prior Experience Is Needed
Regardless of your previous experience raising children, or your total lack thereof, you will receive specialised training sessions to cover all aspects of being a foster carer and what to expect from a foster child. These kids may have been neglected or abused physically and/or sexually. At other times, their birth parents cannot afford to take care of them, or a single parent is too sick to provide adequate care. As a result, foster kids have special needs and may exhibit problem behaviours.
Your experience raising your biological children may not completely prepare you for fostering a troubled child. For example, a child who has experienced food scarcity may steal food and hide it away. The foster carer needs to be trained in how to cope with all such eventualities. Although you may think you know how best to handle these incidents, the proven methods you will be taught will positively assist the child and need to be followed.
You Will Be Provided with Support and Training
You will have the services of a dedicated social worker to handle the foster child’s case and assist you with any difficulties you may encounter. Monthly meetings will take place between you and the social worker and more frequently or ad-hoc as the need arises. The social worker will also be on hand to meet with the foster child.
Support is available around the clock, 24/7. You will never have to face a situation alone. Training is available online and in person and will continue throughout your tenure as a foster carer. This will keep you informed of the latest developments in caring for these vulnerable children.
Foster carers and foster children are provided with regular activities and events that the whole family can partake in. This will allow you to meet with other foster carers and increase your support network as well as make it easy to find suitable outings for foster kids.
The FCA Scotland foster carers online portal provides you with relevant information when you need it most. It also gives you access to many discounts at online stores or retailers.
The Fostering Network membership you will be signed up for includes a medical advice helpline, insurance coverage, legal protection, and a foster care magazine.
You Can Make a Real Difference In a Child’s Life
Vulnerable children are at a distinct disadvantage while they are growing up. The seeds of abuse and neglect will follow them into adulthood. But by providing a foster child with a stable home, love, compassion, and care for all their needs, you can change the direction of their lives. This is the strongest motivation for most people who become foster carers. They already have a stable home and so much to give and share with
You Get to Keep Your Pets
You don’t have to get rid of your beloved pets to foster a child. An animal can play an important role in healing a child from their past and helping them to trust again. That said, if you have a breed of dog that is considered dangerous or a pet that has attacked someone, you will not be allowed to foster.
An empty nest doesn’t only mean that all your biological children have grown up and left home, although this category of carers is welcome to put in an application. It applies to any single person or couple who cannot have their own children but have much to offer a child. You may even be on a waiting list for adoption and eager to start sharing what you have with someone less fortunate.
Whatever your reasons for considering becoming a foster carer, there is a huge gap in suitable placements for countless children. Apply today and make a difference in a child’s life.
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