7 facts you should know about fostering
Gloucestershire County Council is raising awareness of some of the common misconceptions about fostering and the need to recruit 100 more foster carers in the county over the next three years.
Becoming a foster carer is a rewarding job that can have a big impact on a young person’s life. In the past year, there were 883 requests for a fostering placement in Gloucestershire. The number of children coming into care continues to rise, but the number of fostering households isn’t growing at the same rate. The Fostering Network estimates there will be an additional 8,500 foster carers needed across the UK in the next year.
Many people who are interested in fostering think they won’t be eligible, or they won’t be able to fit fostering in around their current lifestyle, so here are seven facts you might not have known about fostering.
- There are different types of fostering. People tend to think of fostering as being long-term, but there are also short-term options such as emergency fostering, where foster carers can choose when they are available to provide a home for children in an emergency from 72 hours to 28 days at a time. You can also become a respite foster carer, where a child stays with you for short amounts of time to give their parents or carers some time to ‘recharge their batteries’.
- You can choose the age group of the child you foster. From babies to teenagers, foster carers will be able to choose which age group they’d like to care for and whether they are able to look after siblings or not.
- There’s extensive support available for foster carers. Right from the start of the application process, potential foster carers will be mentored by an experienced foster carer and once they are caring for a child, they’ll also get support from a social worker and a family support worker. There are also monthly support groups, out-of-hours support, and training, either online or here in Gloucestershire.
- You’ll be helping local children to stay in Gloucestershire. By fostering a child with Gloucestershire County Council, you’ll be helping to keep some stability in a child’s life as it means the child can stay in the area, attend the same school and see their friends.
- You won’t be out of pocket. Some people worry that fostering will end up costing them money, but you will be given an allowance to cover all of the costs involved in looking after a child, including money for birthday and Christmas presents. You’ll also get a fee in recognition of your time, skills and experience. The amount you get depends on the type of fostering you are doing.
- There isn’t just one type of foster carer. With all kinds of children in need of a foster home, there’s a demand for all types of foster carers. Anyone over the age of 21 with a spare room can apply to be a foster carer in Gloucestershire. Whether you own or rent your home, you’re single or married, employed full-time, part-time or unemployed, and regardless of your sexuality, a diverse range of people can foster a child.
- It doesn’t take years to foster a child. It’s a common misconception that it can take years to foster a child. With Gloucestershire County Council, the fostering application process takes between six and eight months. Anyone with relevant experience of looking after children is likely to complete the process even quicker.
If you want to find out a bit more about fostering in Gloucestershire, there are regular free information sessions across the county, which are a great way to find out more about children who need homes, meet other foster carers and ask plenty of questions! The next session will take place on Saturday 30 November from 10am to 12pm at Tewkesbury Park Hotel (Lincoln Green Lane, Tewkesbury GL20 7DN) and we would be really pleased to welcome you. There's no need to book but it would be helpful if you could let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you definitely plan to attend.