Dominic Stevenson talks about how fostering can be one of the most varied, challenging and rewarding job you could do.
Around 2,500 children in care are currently living with foster carers who are specially trained and supported to help their families manage their disabilities. On top of this, every year around 30,000 more children coming into care each year across the UK.
That is why we need to recruit more skilled foster carers to ensure that every child has a foster carer who can meet their needs and help them flourish.
Could you be one of them?
Fostering is one of the most varied, challenging and rewarding jobs you can do. Fostering services are always recruiting more foster carers, particularly to look after disabled children, but also teenagers, unaccompanied asylum seekers and groups of brothers and sisters.
Like other jobs working with children, fostering isn’t easy but is very rewarding and makes a huge difference to children’s lives.
Foster carers are childcare experts working with a team of other professionals providing children with the highest standard of care. Alongside this professionalism, they offer these children love, warmth and a positive experience of family life.
Different types of fostering
There is nothing quite like fostering if you want to work with children. Working from home, it’s possible to combine fostering with caring for your own children, or to combine fostering and other work, depending on the age and needs of the children in your care. There are many different types of fostering, such as emergency, short and long term, short break, support care, and many more, and each foster carer works with their fostering service to choose what is right for them and their family.
In addition to practical support, all foster carers receive an allowance to cover the cost of looking after a fostered child. Some also receive a fee for the work that they do. Throughout their fostering career, foster carers can take advantage of continued professional development. In addition, a range of roles is available within many fostering services, such as helping with recruitment of new foster carers or running support groups.
Stewart has been a foster carer for more than 15 years, and he said: “It’s really rewarding when you see a day-by-day improvement in a child. You see them build up self-esteem and come out of their shell. Then you know you are really making a difference.”
Making a difference
A wider pool of foster carers is needed right across the UK, so children can live with a family in their local area wherever possible. It’s important that children live with families that are a good “match” for them, in terms of location, culture, lifestyle, language, and interests. More foster carers are currently needed to offer homes to teenagers, disabled children and sibling groups.
Foster carers have a unique chance to make a real difference to a child’s life, supporting them and working to help them develop and achieve their potential.
Marcia, who has been a foster carer for more than 10 years, explained why she made the choice to foster: “I became a foster carer because I believe that you should always give somethinback to your community. The biggest rewards come when the children I have looked after achieve what they should.”
Could 2021 be the year you change your own life, and the lives of children in your local community, by deciding to begin your fostering journey?
Find your local fostering service today, and get started: thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/providers