All You Need to Know About Being a Foster Parent
There are lots of myths and confusions that circulate about being a foster parent. Age, marital status and personal experience are often believed to be the deciding factors in whether or not you can foster a child. Here are some of the most common myths uncovered and questions answered, in order to shed some light on the fostering process…
Can I foster a child if I’m single?
There are definitely certain qualities that you must possess to become a great foster parent, but being in a relationship isn’t one of them. An excellent foster parent needs to have lots of patience, be supportive, understanding and, of course, have a big heart. When put into care, or placed into a temporary home, foster children are working through what is referred to as a ‘transition period’- where they are waiting to either be reunited with their birth parents, or in the process of being adopted and found the perfect ‘forever family’ – so they need to be provided with a stable and loving home to make their transition as smooth as it possibly can be. It doesn’t matter if you are a male, female, single or married etc. if you believe that you can provide a safe place for a child who’s in need of stability and support, then you can be the perfect candidate for the position.
Do I have to be qualified to become a foster parent?
Before you can become a foster parent, there is a rigorous process that you must go through. You will initially be paired with a social worker, who will visit you on up to 10 occasions. In this time, they will assess your suitability, family and medical history to make sure that you are suitable to foster a child. This process is called the completion of the ‘Form F Report’. If you pass this initial stage, you will also have to complete a 3-4-day course, which will teach you all of the basics and need-to-know information about being a foster parent. Essentially, you will have to be both suitable and qualified to become a foster parent.
If you are of sound health, mind and possess the right qualities to be able to provide a stable and loving home for a foster child, then you can be the perfect candidate, regardless of age, marital status and personal experience.
Am I too old or too young to foster?
If you are over 25 years of age, then fostering a child can be a great attribute to have. But, rather than being judged on how old you are, you will just need to prove that you are in a good standard of physical and mental health.
Can I be a foster parent if I have my own children?
A common misconception when it comes to fostering is that people who have their own children are not suitable candidates to be foster parents. If you have your own children, it demonstrates that you have the experience to deal with different behaviours and above everything, that you are able to provide a loving and stable environment to foster a child. Bringing a child into a home that already has children living there can actually be an easier transition, as they have somebody to speak to and play with. This can make a foster child feel more at ease and settle into your home quicker. The only caveat is that you cannot bring a foster child into your home who is older than your eldest child.