Have you ever wondered how people become foster carers? You might think this is a great path for you, or just feel curious and want to know more. This guide will outline what it takes to become a foster carer and how to move through the process as well.
Who Can Be a Foster Carer?
The good news is that anyone can be a foster carer if they can tick certain boxes. There are a few specific requirements you need to meet, but apart from that there are no major restrictions. You don’t need lots of experience working with young people, just a positive mindset and a willingness to learn. However, it is worth mentioning that people with major criminal convictions will not be accepted into an agency.
Picking an Agency
Speaking of agencies, how do you pick one that’s right for you? Every foster carer works for either the local authority or a private agency like Fostering People. It is better to find somewhere with a local branch so that you have hands-on support as and when you need it. You can get a feel for things by getting in touch and setting up a conversation with the recruitment teams, and this is a great place to start.
What Will You Need?
There are, of course, some things that are not up for debate. Every person who submits an application has to meet the following criteria:
- You are over the age of 21.
- You have a spare bedroom.
- You have no major criminal convictions.
- You are not actively addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Don’t let things like poor mental health or past addictions stop you from applying. The foster care network is highly inclusive and will consider applicants based on current circumstances, as long as you can show how you have healed and moved forward.
Once you have chosen an agency and submitted your application, someone will be in touch to discuss what comes next. Typically, this is an interview-style conversation followed up with a meet and greet of some family or friends. This is so that the social working team can get a sense of who you are and what you’re about. You will need to go through the DBS process to show you are a safe person on paper and submit documentation that proves your identity too.
Going to Panel
Once everything is lined up, your application will be put to a fostering panel. It is here that you will answer questions, state your case, and show what you’ve got to bring to the table. Going to panel is not as scary as it sounds, and it can actually be a fun event too. Once the panel has reached a decision, you will be a fully verified carer (if successful) and can start preparing your home for a child to come and stay.
What Will the Bedroom Need?
A foster child’s bedroom should be neutral, clean, and well-equipped! It is better to set this up before they arrive, and it will make life easier during the first meet and greet too.
Becoming a foster carer is a fun process where you are able to show off your passions and interests. Remember, everyone is considered fairly, and the fostering network always tries to be inclusive.