Growing up in Brazil and watching so many people living in horrific conditions always made me wonder what I could do to somehow help. I tried to do as much as I could at the time when I was younger, but now as I get older I wonder what more I could do.
I don’t remember hearing much about being a Foster Carer (Also known as a foster parent) back home but it is definitely something I am considering for the future, so in this post we will discuss a little bit about what fostering means.
I remember volunteering at orphanages and care homes at a very young age. I really enjoyed being able to assist and provide temporary support to people in need, regardless of their problems.
A couple of years ago I heard an advert on the radio about becoming a Foster Carer and that really hit me and made me think that at some point I could definitely incorporate fostering into my life.
We live in a world where things can drastically change for the worse, a very good example of how things can turn unpredictably is the current situation in Ukraine.
The devastating impact of the war in Ukraine means there are huge numbers of families and children who now find themselves in very distressing and dangerous situations.
In Brazil, poverty is still a huge problem, we have entire families living on the streets under bridges, young children begging, and babies living in horrific conditions.
It is an unfortunate and deeply sad situation that has been some countries’ reality for many years and there isn’t much of a long-term solution in sight.
What Is Fostering?
Fostering is when you provide care and support to vulnerable children and young people. Every child needs to grow and learn in a safe environment to thrive.
As a Foster Carer, you will be responsible for supporting a child or young person for either short-term following which the child or person will return home, or long term for those children who cannot return home and you will support them until they are ready to move towards independence and you help them to take the next step in their life.
Why Do Some Children Need Foster Care?
A child or young person could enter foster care for a number of reasons such as family breakdown, family illness, problems at home that could be endangering their wellbeing and safety, or any situation where their welfare is threatened.
As mentioned previously, things can happen unexpectedly and expose children to very stressful situations that they have no control of, and the priority is to guarantee they are safe and protected at all costs.
Is Fostering Right For Me?
If fostering is something you are considering, there are a number of agencies (or Local Authorities) you can register with. Some requirements may vary, but in general you have to be 21 years old, have a spare room for the child, be healthy enough to adequately care for the child or young person placed with you, and have the right to live and work in the UK.
Apart from the technicalities, you do have to consider the impact that fostering a child can have on your life. It is a beautiful thing to do but it requires a lot of commitment and dedication, so make sure to take this decision very seriously and consider all the aspects involving fostering.
What Are The Benefits Of Fostering?
When it comes to emotional benefits, personally it would make me the happiest person in the world to know that I am making a positive impact on someone’s life, especially at a stage in their life when they need it most.
Nobody should go through life worrying about their own wellbeing and safety, especially children.
Circumstances for children can change suddenly and drastically, therefore fostering is so important and can have a huge impact on the lives of vulnerable children.
Kids need a loving home, understanding, structure, stability and safety to thrive. Every year thousands of new foster families are needed.
Unfortunately, redundancies have become very common during the pandemic and fostering can be an exceptional alternative career with the potential to be extremely rewarding, both on a personal and professional level.
There are also financial benefits to fostering and there are many trustworthy agencies available to support you and your family in this process and once you are registered and approved to become a Foster Carer you will get an allowance based on the age of the child or young person placed with you.
Fostering brings enormous emotional rewards and excellent financial rewards, however the fostering allowance may vary depending on who you register with. You can usually receive a higher fostering allowance with an independent fostering agency like Swiis Foster Care compared to other agencies and their Local Authority counterparts.
The fostering allowance is paid weekly and includes money to cover the child’s needs, and a professional element paid to the Foster Carer to reflect the fostering role. Fostering payments are tax exempt.
Fostering is not easy, you need commitment and empathy in helping the child or young person in your care settle and feel safe, however you will also be provided significant training and dedicated support to ensure that you are successful in your new career.
We hope that this post inspires you or helps to answer some of your questions about fostering. If you are interested about becoming a Foster Carer, do some research to see if it would be the right fit for you. I know that Swiis Foster Care have a dedicated helpline which answers any questions you may have about the fostering role, 0333 577 1234.
Families have different reasons when they consider fostering as a career, but the wish to help vulnerable children and young people going through turbulent times is probably the main one.
Fostering is a beautiful thing to consider but it is a professional career and becoming a Foster Carer is a huge decision to make, not just for you, but for you immediate and wider family, so make sure you find out as much as you can about the fostering role before deciding.
This decision will affect your everyday life in so many ways, and whilst an unquestionable rewarding experience, fostering comes with its challenges too, so take your time, research, and good luck!