Thinking of fostering - advice?(9 Posts)
Currently I'm nearly 20, working at home as a child/YA writer. In the next few years I intend to become a foster parent, but I'd like to know how I can best spend my time before this. I've wanted to do it since I was eight, so a lot of research has been done, but I still need to ask people with experience.
I plan to start looking into it in my mid-20s (obviously not now!), aiming to work with older children. I would want to start with over-5s, but happy to have teenagers once there's a big enough age gap to avoid awkwardness on the teen's part. Other than the obvious (spare bedroom for a child), what should I aim to achieve in the run up to application? I've considered childcare courses but none that I have found are exceptionally relevant. Sources seem to suggest that it's better to just apply when I'm ready because there will be training.
So say I was:
- single and settled
- self employed, working from home
- not planning on having a baby in the next 5-10 years
- non-smoker, non-drinker
How good does that look from the outset? What should I be doing over the next five years to improve my credentials prior to application? I don't want to approach anyone at this point as I'm sure they have better things to do than describe the process with no intent to start it yet. It is something I want to do while fairly young and energetic, as while fostering is my preference I'm not discounting the idea of having a child of my own in my 30s.
hi, I think child experience is key - so brownie/cubs is good or volunteer at a youth club or holiday club, something you can fit in with work/life but shows your commitment and that you know what children are REALLY like!
Whats a child/YA writer?
I am 29, started fostering at 28, but started the application process at 27 - took nearly a year - so similar to you. I am a teacher (now work part time) so had experience through that, but also babysat for friends, volunteered with barnados (still do - just less!)
Hope that helps. I knew it was something i wanted to do, but waited until i was settled in my house before applying. You also need to have some savings behind you in case you don't have a placement.
Would speak too your LA they will do pre Fostering courses, talks, meeting's
and will best advise you. Our Adoptive Daughter completed a course at age 18 too help her understand our fostering and the children we foster, this was a few years ago. She found it rewarding and helpfull.
In some instances training can take some time, approval and standards etc. they will advise you best way forward
Sorry forgot too say that your LA may have some support role in childcare,
such as intervention,advocate, etc which you could do part time.
It would be a good idea to contact your LA and ask them whether they would conside you now, and if not, what they would like to see you doimg in the next few years to get enough experience. LAs are desperate for good foster carers and you sound great, they will be very happ yot speak to you and offer advice.
Ah, by child/YA writing I mean I write books for children and young adults. I considered becoming a teacher before fostering, but have decided that as I consider writing my career it is not for me. In lieu of that I am considering going back to Guiding or more work experience with after school clubs. I have emailed the LA in case they have any other ideas or would even offer a course to a 19 y/o as I have considered going back to college for childcare but their course is not that relevant to older kids. I would be interested in advocacy and such, so hopefully they will have some good ideas for what I can do. Thank you all for your advice, it's very much appreciated.
Good Idea,s . Our older daughter New SEN Teacher, previouse helped out LA's
and Children's charity's , Taking 1to1 children out,babysiting, etc. She is still doing this today. They sent her an all lots of courses all Free, Paeditric 1st aid, ADHD, Epilepsy, challenging behaviour etc,etc.
Also look at voluntary work such as Banardos, Action for children etc or perhaps some residential care work. Remember children who need fostering have had significant experiences, this can mean that they may respond differently to children who have not had such experiences. I would suggest that anything with children who have difficulties, challenging behaviour or learning needs etc will stand you in good stead. Lots of agencies and organisations have sessional work available that could fit around other things .
the majority of LA's wont have you until you are over 25 anyway so there is really no point in applying yet as they would just refuse you at present.
I would say, for now, to find a good job, get your house in order, as in child proofed, save as much money as you can and study as much as you can about children, be it at night school, open uni, whatever.
the reason I say save up is because most LA's will stipulate that you cannot work more than 18.5 hours a week, so you will need some pennies in the bank! (who knows what the future will bring, so best to save now),
I was like you, from being a little girl I wanted to foster, (my parents were foster carers) and I loved having all the different kids in the house.
I waited until I was 25 before I applied and for lots of reasons, my application took 3 years (sw off sick, on holiday etc), I already have my own children, and I am married but I know lots of single, childless carers.
my best friend has just been approved and I know the panel were very impressed as she had taken lots of courses in child care, child development etc, and had also volunteered as a youth club leader in a poor area and had volunteered at the local kids home (after being crb checked).
good luck to you, I hope it all works out the way you want xxxxx
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