There are many myths surrounding fostering, which can often put people off from applying. In this blog, we look to debunk these myths in order to help you discover the truth about fostering.
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10 most popular fostering myths - debunked
02 February 2022
Brent fostering team
Single people cannot foster
Sadly, many believe that their relationship status prevents them from applying to foster. This could not be more false. Whether you are divorced, single, in a relationship, married or in any other sort of arrangement, you can foster. Fostering could be demanding at times so what we will consider when assessing you is your support network. But it does not mean that if you are the only person in your household you do not have the abilities to look after a child. Just like there are so many single parents, there can be single foster carers. As long as there are some people you can rely on for help and support, you can apply to foster. We will also organise support groups involving other foster carers where you could find like-minded people who may become key individuals in your fostering journey.
You cannot work and foster
This is another thing about fostering that people misunderstand. You can work and foster as long as your working situation allows you to be available for the needs of the child – manage school runs, attend meetings and doctor’s appointment. Fostering compares with any other activity which requires planning, juggling with tasks, running all sorts of errands, so as long as you can fit it into your schedule, you can definitely work at the same time. The only thing to be mindful of is not stretching yourself too thinly. Your mental well-being is a priority so you need to make sure that you have time for yourself, too. We have foster carers who look after older children, which allows them to work full-time because the child is more independent. As a baby carer, however, this is impossible, unfortunately, and you need to be available 24/7.
The Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity, supports employment of foster carers through a fostering friendly scheme aimed at employers, which you can use to start a discussion with your employer about changing your working hours.
LGBTQ+ people cannot foster
Brent is an extremely diverse and inclusive borough and we want all the members of our diverse community to foster. We think that all people, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, faith or social status, can safeguard and look after local children in care. If you are not necessarily looking to start a family, in which case adoption is more suitable, fostering is an incredible way to make a real difference to children who need love and most importantly understanding and unwavering support. New Family Social are great supporters of fostering and adoption among LGBT+ singles and couples, so you can check with them for personalised advice about which route to take. You can always get in touch with us, too.
You need to be a UK citizen to foster
Fostering applicants need to have the right to remain in the UK indefinitely, and this is the only requirement regarding the status of foreign residents. The aim of fostering is to offer children a stable home so if you have clear plans of remaining in the UK for a longer time, you can become a foster carer.
We think that all people, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, faith or social status, can safeguard and look after local children in care.
To foster for Brent you need to live in Brent
We will consider your application if you live in any of the London Boroughs within the M25 and any other boroughs that border the M25. You would need to be in a location that is convenient for both the children in your care and for yourself. Ideally, if you want to foster babies, you would need to live in Brent because usually babies need to live close to their Brent-based birth families. As a foster carer for older children you can live in any other area with easy access to Brent. With a child going into care every 20 minutes in the UK, all local authorities need foster carers, so we encourage you to check with your local fostering team first to see if you can join them.
You need to own your home to foster
To be a Brent foster carer you do not need to own a property. You could be living in privately rented accommodation, in a council property, or in your own house or flat. As long as you have the necessary available space to accommodate a child, you are eligible to apply for fostering. The only requirements are that you have a spare room if you want to care for children over the age of three or space in your bedroom for a cot if you want to foster babies. If you have children, they cannot share a room with the foster child so please consider this as well.
Fostering means you will be caring for children or young people with challenging behaviour
Our children come into care for a variety of reasons spanning abuse, and parents with drug or alcohol misuse; therefore, they all have different needs. However, this does not mean that all children are difficult to manage. Those who we think need specialist care will be matched with the carers who have the right skills and experience. Regardless of their needs, each child has a unique personality, which a foster carer should try to understand and respond to if they really want to help.
I am too old to foster
In fostering, age is just a number and there is no such things as too old to foster. Foster parents must be at least 21 but there is no upper age limit. We have carers who are older than 70 and have the energy and desire to look after children, with some doing this for over 30 years. So please do not rule yourself out because of your age. Look into your soul, check if you have the right motivation to foster, and think about how resilient you are, because these things matter most.
I am unemployed so cannot foster
Not working can mean that you may have more time and energy to look after the children in your care, and to attend training and support groups. However, this could also mean that you do not have a fixed income to rely on. As a foster carer, you receive an allowance and fee only when you are caring for a child and this is enough to cover for their living costs. So in order to be financially stable you will need another source of income. If you have specific questions about your own financial situation and how it can impact on you applying to foster, please give us a call.
I do not have children so do not have the skills to foster
Being a parent teaches you many things and it also changes you in many ways, but it does not necessarily turn you into a foster carer. Moreover, to be a good foster carer you need more than just experience with children; you also need to be resilient, committed and passionate about helping others. Therefore, if you do not have children but are excited about the opportunity of caring for vulnerable children, we are waiting to hear from you.