Looking after other people’s children or Fostering is a very worthwhile activity. It can bring many benefits to young people and the families of those who foster. There are many myths that exist though about those people eligible to foster. Here are five that I hope will not stop you from offering your family support to a vulnerable young person.
1 – A foster parent has to be well off financially.
Although financial stability is a requirement, you do not have to be wealthy to be a foster parent. More important will be the wealth of life experience that you have and how you can help a young person to share that with you.
2 – You have to be married to qualify as a foster parent.
Well, married people are allowed to foster! So are single people, gay couples, and those people who choose to live together instead of being married. In fact, what’s more important is that you have a stable household where relationships are well developed and able to welcome and integrate a young person into them.
3 – Foster children are too emotionally unstable and they have volatile conduct.
Young people in care are often emotionally vulnerable. At the very least they are away from their birth parents for whatever reason, and that’s hard. Even if they have been through abuse or conflicts, a well-trained foster carer will help them to develop healthy emotions and depict constructive behaviour. Over a period of time, the aim of the foster carer is to help the young people develop into confident, loving and compassionate individuals.
4 – You need experience as a parent to provide good foster care.
Although it really helps, experience as a parent is not a must. In fact, many carers choose to foster because they have not been able to have children of their own. More important is that you are open to the training and development on offer and that you apply it to the role of foster parent.
5 – I am too old to be a foster parent.
While there is a minimum age of 21, to be a foster parent, there is no upper age limit. In fact, the way we see it older people just have more experience which is just what young people need to benefit from.
6 – Foster Parents have to own their own home
As long as you have a spare bedroom for the foster child to stay in, it does not matter if you own your own home or not. You do need to be the main tenant and you will need your landlord’s permission to foster but rented accommodation is usually acceptable for fostering. In fact more important is that you have a safe and secure home where young people will be able to grow up to enjoy family life.
7- Foster parents cannot have any criminal convictions
Clearly, any child related or violent acts cannot be accepted due to the nature of the work but due consideration is given to other misdemeanors that may have happened in your life. What’s more important is what you have learned from that experience and how long ago the events took place.
I hope that this article has explained some of the common myths associated with foster care that often get in the way of people applying to be a foster carer. No-one likes to be rejected from anything. You might have some more questions that you can ask us at Synergy Fostering, or any fostering provider who will be happy to answer them for you.
Looking to become a foster carer? Contact us today and we can help you with your enquiry.