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My Journey Into Fostering

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When I told my friends and family that I was thinking about becoming a foster carer it was met mostly with confusion. There are so many misconceptions about fostering that most people don’t really understand what it is or why anyone would want to do it. My friends and family were concerned that I’d be lumbered with some delinquent kid who would make my life miserable, but this thankfully hasn’t been the case!

If you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer, then congratulations, you’ve made it over the first hurdle! It isn’t quite a career choice, but there’s training, and you get paid. And it isn’t quite the same as having your own child; because there’s training and you get paid! However, it should be treated as seriously as changing careers or deciding to have another child. Both require commitment and determination, and both can leave you emotionally exhausted, so it’s quite a good comparison really. To help you on your journey into fostering, in this article I will answer some of the most common questions that I hear as a foster carer…

Can you foster if you have your own kids?

Absolutely! Fostering is a decision to be made with the whole family involved, as it affects everyone. My two children were more curious than anything else, and they wanted to learn everything they could about fostering before we started the process. I know people who have decided to put off fostering because their children aren’t ready, and this is perfectly fine too. You know your family best, and you’ll know if they you’re ready to open their home to a child in need.

Don’t you have to own your own home?

I thought this too, but it turns out you can become a foster carer if you rent your home. All you have to have is a spare bedroom that you can help make special for your foster child. I thought I’d be turned away after my enquiry because I mentioned that I rent my home, but this didn’t have any impact on my application.

Is the training very difficult?

There are two parts to the training. You will have some training during the application process and then you’ll have access to ongoing training throughout your fostering placements. During the application process, this is more about determining if you are emotionally prepared for fostering. Don’t let this put you off, but don’t take it lightly, either. After you have passed and a social worker has said you can become a foster carer, you’ll get to work with your local authority or private fostering agency to decide which areas you would like more training in. This might be things like improving your communication skills or learning basic first aid.

Does it pay well?

This is a question that people always dance around, and then eventually just come out and ask me. Being a foster carer does pay, but you’re not going to make your fortune in this business, and if that’s your intention, you’re in the wrong industry! You get an allowance based on how many children you have in your care, but this is intended to help you care for the child. Some agencies will also give extra allowance around birthdays and Christmas so you can plan extra special treats for them. In my opinion, the allowance is very fair, and I wouldn’t think of it as a salary.

About the author

I'm a Mum of 2 handsome little boys living in Manchester. I'm also a foster mum, a job a love and take very seriously! I love reading and cycling - when I get the chance that is!

lorimerfostering.com

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