BEING a foster parent means caring for a child as part of your family and is a lot of responsibility.
Fostering services are welcoming everyone to apply, but what are the steps and what is important to look out for?
How to become a foster parent in the UK
To become a foster parent in the UK you need to be at least 18 years old, however some foster services will require someone to be at least 21.
Someone applying can be married, single or cohabiting.
You can be a homeowner or a tenant, and of any religious, ethnic and cultural background.
If you are single you will need to be at home full-time or have flexible part-time employment.
And if you are in a couple one of you will need to be available full time.
Following steps need to be taken when applying to be a foster parent, according to the gov.uk website:
- You need to apply through your local council or an independent fostering agency.
- Be aware you can only apply for one fostering service.
- You will need to take a preparation course on fostering.
- Every adult living in your household needs to pass an enhanced with barred lists Disclosure Service check.
- Social workers will asses you and your household to make sure that you can take care of a child.
- It is possible to give preferences about the future child such as age or gender.
- After reviewing your application, the fostering service will set up a panel, who will make the recommendation.
What disqualifies you from being a foster parent in the UK?
Fostering applications are for people of all backgrounds, however there are five factors, which will prevent you from being approved.
Having a minor criminal conviction is okay, however if you have a criminal record for violent or sexual offences the application for being a foster parent won’t get approved.
Secondly fostering services don’t mind pets such as dogs, cats, snakes, fishes and many more, but there are certain dog breeds that aren’t allowed.
If you are having a disability and you need care yourself, it won’t be possible to apply as a solo foster parent.
However it is not restricted to apply in a fostering couple.
Being a working fostering parent is not a bad thing, but if you are applying as a solo foster parent and working full time the chances are high to get rejected.
Fostering services need the foster parent to be able to adjust their life around school times.
And the last thing is that the foster child needs their own room and enough communal space.
The room should have at least a window, door, bed, storage, desk, chair and radiator.
If one of these requirements can’t be fulfilled the application will likely get rejected.
How much do foster parents get paid in the UK?
The allowance given to help take care of the child you may be paired with depends on the type of care required and the age of the child or young person.
Children with more specific needs will require more care.
According to the gov.uk website, the minimum allowance a foster parent gets paid in England is usually between £154 and £270 a week.