As long as you have the time and dedication necessary, becoming a foster carer can be a very rewarding experience for those of us who like the idea of aiding children in care. While money should never be the first incentive for anyone who wants to be a foster carer, the financial aspect can never be completely ignored in real life either, which is why the allowances provided to foster carers are very helpful, along with other things like discounts.
Given how big the demand for foster care homes is in the UK right now, applying to join the foster care system at your local fostering agency could open a unique set of life opportunities for you. If the idea appeals to you, read on and find out how to get registered as a foster carer.
See If You Meet the Qualifications
You do not need any special certification, skill, or experience to become a foster carer. If you have relevant skills, it can certainly prove to be beneficial, but it’s not really necessary. If you are chosen, then your fostering agency will train you as necessary.
The training will help you become a foster carer who is fully capable of handling the responsibilities given to them. However, there are a few points to consider before you apply. The following are all requirements you must meet.
- Only citizens or permanent residents of the UK may apply.
- The minimum age for foster carers is 21+, with no official upper age limit.
- Anyone applying should have at least one extra bedroom in their home, made suitable and safe for children.
- They should have sufficient time available to dedicate towards caring for the children in their care.
- The applicant must not have a recent criminal record, but the fostering panel may ignore old and petty crimes that were not violent or sexual in nature, if they can see the person has turned their life around and these problems are no longer an issue.
- No one with a criminal record in sexual, violent, and/or abusive offences should apply, even if the record is old.
Contact Your Local Fostering Agency
If you meet the minimum qualifications and if you don’t have any disqualifying criminal activities on record, the next step would be to contact your local fostering agency. For example, if you live in Southampton, visit orangegrovefostercare.co.uk and apply online.
Wait for the Confirmation
If your application is accepted, then the fostering agency will contact you to initiate the assessment process. How an agency will carry out its multipart assessments will vary, but you will be informed about their processes in advance. Expect a home visit, background checks, social worker visits, and an interview with the fostering panel. If the panel and agency decision maker find you suitable as a foster carer, you will be informed and will become approved with the agency after a short delay.
Once you have been approved with the agency, you will be matched with a suitable child. You will also learn the unique set of skills needed to become a successful, helpful, and caring foster care provider.