Becoming a foster carer, 11 myths demystified

There are still many misconceptions about who can foster. Here are the top 11.

I can’t foster because…

  1. I’m too old. Your age is not a barrier to becoming a foster carer.
  1. I am single. Anyone can foster regardless of whether they have a partner or not.
  1. I’ve got pets. So long as your pet is well behaved around children, then a pet can be a positive presence for a foster child.
  1. I won’t be able to go away on holiday. Being a foster parent won’t stop you from going away on holiday. You may be able to take you foster child with you or other arrangements can be made for their care during your holiday.
  1. I don’t own my home. People renting can foster. If you rent you will need to get a letter of permission from your landlord to have foster children living with you. The most important thing about you home is having enough space for a foster child.
  1. My income isn’t enough. Whatever your income you can apply to be a foster carer. Foster carers are paid a fee and an allowance for providing care for the child.
  1. I am religious. Foster children come from all different backgrounds, ethnicities and religions. Your religion is not a barrier to becoming a foster carer so long as the foster child’s religion is respected and supported.
  1. I have a troubling history. You may have a history of alcohol or drug use, you may have dropped out of school or perhaps you were brought up in an environment where your parents lacked necessary parenting skills. Whilst you might see these elements of your history as a barrier, the most important thing is how you have moved past these problems. In some cases a troubling past may make you a positive role model for a foster child.
  1. We’re a same-sex couple. Some foster children come with a history that means it is more appropriate for them to be cared for by two people of the same sex.
  1. I have a criminal record. Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you for foster care. It depends on the type of offense and the circumstances. Be honest from the start.

  2. I don’t want to foster children of any age. You do not have to be open to children of all age groups. You are allowed to specify the age of the child you want to foster. Some foster carers only want to look after babies or young children, some specify that they’re only open to caring for teenagers.

This is part 3 of our 5-part guide to foster caring. To read part 4 click here

To read the rest of the guide click here

Achieving for Children is a social enterprise company created by the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames to provide their children's services. To find out more click here

To find out about fostering visit www.achievingforchildren.org.uk
Call: 0800 085 7072 or email fostering.info@richmond.gov.uk

For support on fostering contact New Family Social, the charity for LGBT adoption and fostering: www.newfamilysocial.org.uk

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  1. […] to part 1: The Rewards of becoming a foster carer Go to part 2: Becoming a foster carer, 11 myths demystified Go to part 3: Types of fostering placements Go to part 4: Applying to foster: the […]

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