According to recent figures, the UK needs more than 8,000 foster families to meet the current level of demand. Unfortunately, a common trend is revealing itself. Many potential foster parents are being lost because they believe that their current job is incompatible with becoming a foster carer. |
Furthermore, many fostering organisations do not accept people who are currently working, as they do not believe they would make suitable carers.
Here at Synergy Fostering, we are aiming to dispel this myth and make the message clear that you can have a successful career that pays the bills, all while becoming a generous and devoted foster carer. If you are looking to do both, here are four aspects that you may wish to keep in mind.
Finding the right agency
Each provider sets its own policies regarding who it does or doesn't approve to be a Foster Carer Agency, based on the guidance that it is given and the regulations by which it must abide.
Providers seek potential carers who are willing to put the needs of the foster child above other such things such as work, which may make someone who isn’t currently working more likely to be successful.
It may take some time to locate one, but there are agencies out there that truly believe that you can be both a worker and an effective, loving foster carer.
Is your employer foster-friendly?
It’s a given that fostering requires you to provide your foster child with love, time and attention, with their needs placed above yours.
However, some employers aren’t willing to be as flexible around the needs of foster carers. You will, therefore, need to consider whether your own employer is one that will gladly provide you with time off to perform your fostering duties.
All employers are legally required to consider your requests for flexible working, which may be enough to enable you to fulfil your fostering responsibilities. The more flexible the hours, the easier it will be for you to combine fostering with paid employment.
Age is worth addressing
It’s worth bearing in mind that the age of the child that you care for could affect your likelihood of being able to combine work and fostering.
For example, it will be much harder to do both with a young child, given their need for almost constant care. A teenager, on the other hand, may have much more independence, and could perform such duties as cooking for themselves or returning from school on their own – making it easier for you to spend more time at work.
Get the right backup
Don’t go it alone – Foster Carers need the help of backup carers, such as friends and adult family members.
As well as being able to step in if and when your work requirements clash with fostering duties, such backup carers can help you to free up your time to attend training courses and events that are necessary to maintain your expertise in looking after foster children.
In summary, Fostering is compatible with paid work as long as you have the flexibility to ensure that the foster child’s needs come first in your life. As with all children, sometimes they need you to put work to one side to manage issues that present themselves. With Fostering you also need to attend training and support activities in addition.
With all of these tips in mind, it’s also important to remember that a great number of foster carers, some in our agency, successfully manage their careers and foster care at the same time; you could be next.
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