Understanding what fostering entails is extremely important for those new to fostering, as well as for anyone who is thinking about becoming a foster parent. In this post we will discuss some of the more crucial aspects of foster care in UK to boost your knowledge and understanding of the system.

Eligibility to Apply vs Eligibility to Foster

Technically, any adult, permanent resident or citizen of the United Kingdom aged 21+ can apply to become a foster care provider, if they have a spare room. Although the official, minimum age is 18+, foster care agencies have a legal right to set that minimum age requirement higher to 21 or above. You will find almost every foster care agency uses that right in the UK and 21+ is the unofficial minimum age for foster parents.

However, the point to note here is that these are only the eligibilities you need to apply. Being eligible alone may or may not be sufficient, because a foster care agency can only finalise their selection after the assessment process and background checks have taken place. If you are interested and you meet the minimum eligibility criteria, apply at Fosterplus to get started on your way to becoming a foster parent.

Special Skills and Training

There are several different types of foster care and these will require certain levels of training, which will be offered by your fostering provider. Some fostering placements can only be provided by trained foster care providers with special skills training. For example, only adequately skilled and trained foster care workers are qualified to support children that need therapeutic or specialist foster care. Whichever type of fostering placement you provide, your foster care agency will arrange the right training for you.

Short Term Fostering is a Good Place to Start

Short term fostering is always a great place to start for new foster parents. It involves taking care of one or more children for anything from just a few days or weeks at a time, to up to a couple of year. You may continue working as a short-term foster care provider in the future as well. Respite fostering can also be a good option, where you provide care for a night or two, to provide a break for a child’s full time foster carers, or occasionally birth parents. Remand fostering can also be short term, but that’s not a job for beginners or even experienced care providers without special training.

Emergency Fostering is Also Well Suited for Beginners

Emergency fostering requires the foster parent to provide a safe and secured place for children in urgent need of it. In most cases, the duration of their stay will range from just one night to a week’s stay at most. Do note that foster parents willing to provide emergency care to children must be ready to do so on short notice (< 12 – 24 hours), when required.

Finally, consider your own availability for the children under your care, before selecting the type of fostering that you are willing to undertake. You will be paid an allowance by the state via your foster care agency and there is also the possibility to work at another job while fostering. Nevertheless, a foster parent is legally obliged to provide as much time to the children under their care as needed. Your fostering duties will have to take priority over any other job which you might hold simultaneously.