What Can You Expect from Becoming a Foster Carer?
England’s mainstream capacity to house foster children has diminished between 1st April 2021 and 31st March 2022, as compared to the previous year (April 2020 – March 2021). Regardless, the number of children in foster care continues to increase every year. While the shortage is problematic, it can easily be managed if more adults step up to become a part of the English foster care system.
Anyone who is interested in fostering children should consider applying at their local fostering agency. However, all potential applicants should go through the core facts regarding what would be expected of them, as well as what they can expect in return. The following paragraphs should help with that.
You Can Expect to be Accepted Only If You Qualify
Between 2017 and 2022, the number of successful applications continued to decease every year. It was noted that most people who applied within that timeline did not become a foster carer because:
• Some could not meet the minimum requirements.
• Some could not pass the later assessments necessary to become a foster carer in England.
• Some were not serious enough and were not properly prepared to take on the role of a foster caregiver.
Local authorities (LA) noted an average conversion rate of 1 in 8, while independent fostering agencies (IFA) reported an average conversion rate of 1 in 23. Therefore, you can only expect to become a foster carer if you meet all specified standards and manage to pass the assessments later. All interested adults (21+) with a spare room can contact this fostering agency in London for more information.
You Can Expect to be Adequately Compensated
All LA and IFA foster carers receive sufficient allowances to help them take care of all financial needs of the children under their care and generate a decent income simultaneously. How much allowance you will receive as a foster carer will vary depending on the local authority, the agency, the needs of the children in your care, etc. Nevertheless, you can expect the amount to be sufficient in meeting both expectations. While fostering is much more than a job, you have the full right to be compensated for your time.
You Can Expect to Have Your Priorities Shifted
It is neither illegal, nor impossible for foster carers to hold down a side job. However, you may need to shuffle your priorities. If you are accepted as a foster care provider, you must treat the foster children’s needs as a priority over all other professional commitments. Note that this is not just a moral obligation, but a legal mandate. Only hold a fulltime job if you can find one that will allow you enough time and freedom to prioritise the foster children’s needs. Most agree that part-time jobs with minimum hours are best suited for foster carers who have the need to hold another job.
Above all else, you can expect to make a difference in children’s lives and eventually, the future they will build on growing up. Note that every child in care is there because something happened to keep them from experiencing a normal childhood. The biggest reward for a foster carer is that they get several chances to change these children’s lives for the better.