fostering as a career choice

(16 Posts)
itispersonal Tue 21-Jan-14 08:38:59

I am trained as a teacher so have degree in primary teaching, so do have a passion from helping children. Currently not employed as a teacher and working in call center though on maternity leave from there, also know my la says biological child need to be older than 1.

I have always had an interest in fostering but wondering if u can make a career/living from it per se. As I know you can work and foster but do you not need a very flexible employer.

Obviously fostering is not done for the money, but without the money fr the la I wouldn't be in a position to foster more than a weekend respite. My thoughts have been to start supply teaching which can be dipped in and out of when don't have a foster child.

I think overall I'm considering my options in where to take my career that involves children. I know fostering is very different from teaching, but there are a few cross over points.

ghostinthecanvas Tue 21-Jan-14 08:52:54

Depends on where you live. LAs are starting to pay a more realistic wage. You need to check it out. Independent agencies pay a set amount weekly and a percentage of that is wages. You are self employed whoever you decide to go with. IFA place more challenging children as councils pay them a lot of money. You are not allowed to work another job if you go with Independent agencies but you can with the local authority. Personally I wasn't comfortable fostering while I had a baby/toddler. I waited until my eldest had left home.
HTH and good luck with whatever you decide

itispersonal Tue 21-Jan-14 09:26:12

Thanks, had look at weekly wage with my LA and think Iwould need a top up from another source. Though the older age and more challenging children you get a retainer with my LA. But I would take on that responsibility until my own children were left home.

Ideally I think my youngest would need to be in school and foster children of pre school age, so foster child can get 1 to 1 they need during the day and my own children not feel out (as much)

suzylee73 Tue 21-Jan-14 09:37:24

I work for an agency and the rates if pay are higher so you can afford to stop working.
I don't know their rules on already having a little one but we are trying for our own baby and I know that I will be able to carry on fostering afterwards.
Have a chat with your la and a couple of local agencies, they tend to have different rules

redgate Tue 21-Jan-14 09:58:34

There do seem to be a lot more opportunities for 'professional' fostering like this, where you get a fee as well as the usual boarding out allowance to meet the costs of looking after the children. I have been doing this for a few years, and absolutely love it.

You would have children and young people with very complex needs placed with you through either an agency or a local authority. No disrespect to the children, but there will be a reason why they need a very experienced, fee paid carer, some looked after children have a lot of behavioral needs and it is 'hard to place' kids who both independent agencies and local authorities would look to place with you. This could have a massive impact on your birth child/ren.

I am not sure you would have time/be allowed to work outside the house too (you mentioned needing another income source) The kids will need a lot of support all the time, and the reason they pay so much is so that you can be there (literally) 24:7.

Don't forget you will pay no/very little tax on your income, which may make a difference. I don't mean to put you off, I absolutely love what I do - but it is not always easy.

Is the lovely Nananina still around? She is brilliant and can advise more.

redgate Tue 21-Jan-14 10:02:38

Sorry slightly skewed post - was reading a post on another board and no idea how I managed to mix them up! Some bits of my seemingly random whitter might apply: Fostering is brilliant, but not easy and unless you go for a lot of (hard) placements, you are unlikely to make a living out of it.

itispersonal Tue 21-Jan-14 10:07:03

Thanks for your post redgate when looking at my LA job page, they do page for the "professional" foster carer with the weekly retainer. At present this wouldn't be the foster care I would provide, especially as most ofthese are in the teen bracket and I have no experience of teenagers.

I think as a start for fostering I would want to foster the younger children as this is where my experience lies and as my experience is fostering developed, more to more and more challenging and older children.

itispersonal Tue 21-Jan-14 10:10:00

I would need to achieve an income of 10k pa to do it full time, so not a great deal overall.

Though as said money isn't my main aim for doing it, but it's all about the practicalities of fostering.

Pedent Tue 21-Jan-14 11:08:29

Depending on your household income (not sure whether you have a working partner or not), you may be eligible for tax credits, which could help to make this work. As I understand it, for tax credits purposes fostering counts as full-time employment, but income from fostering doesn't reduce the amount you get (because it isn't taxable).

ghostinthecanvas Tue 21-Jan-14 11:52:41

I forgot to say, you pay less tax as a foster carer

wonderpants Tue 21-Jan-14 12:34:32

I am a short term foster Carer for 0-5 years. In all honesty, even though our LA is more generous than some, I don't make any profit on fostering so to speak. My heating is constantly on, my washing machine never stops, on top of nappies, clothes, petrol costs for meetings and contact and on and on.
At the moment, we have carers who have been without placement for 6 months without a retainer, so you have to be able to cope with being available yet unpaid for long periods of time.
I am maybe unusual in that I work 20 hours a week over 2 days, and my husband works 3 long days a week, so we jointly care. There is always one of us there 24/7. We couldn't afford to live on one salary.
However I love it, it is the best and the hardest job in the world. But unless you are taking difficult, or multiple placements, it isn't a financially attractive job in my opinion.

fasparent Tue 21-Jan-14 13:40:36

Can see and understand where you are, forget about money, regard's fostering, think of the underlying expense's never mentioned , as for a career yes it can be achieved but you have too, look at the servis see what areas of need are short falling. One area is short breaks for children giving foster parents, also parents of disabled children a bit of quality time too recharge, also allowing children some fun time.
Sure with the correct plan and accommodation this could be both rewarding and enjoyable at the same time , Know of a few FP's who have followed this route. You could sound out your LA.

scarlet5tyger Tue 21-Jan-14 14:03:21

Some excellent advice here but I'd also add to not rely too heavily on what your LA's website advertises as their rates of pay. The rate on my own LA's is quite high - but doesn't tell you it's for experienced foster carers with very difficult children. They advertise clothing and equipment allowances but I've not known a single carer be able to claim these.

Also be aware that you may limit your placements while your BC is young - I think 99% of the children I've cared for would not have been placed with me if I had another very young child. (Behaviour issues, high demands or perhaps being removed from a sibling group due to sibling issues)

mercibucket Tue 21-Jan-14 14:07:20

i know quite a few people who do it as a job and they all seem to do fine for money. they do it not just for the money but are able to do it as a job iyswim? it wont make you a fortune but it is a possible 'career' depending on your area. ours is apparently changing the rules though so that you cant choose an age range, so i would look into it carefully first. it is v hard work though and 24:7.

fasparent Tue 21-Jan-14 16:59:33

One good point of going the way of a short break service is that you are available for LA's and IFA's alike in or out of area, and can cost your self too include support staff and individual child's requirement social and domestic for their term of stay per night. also your running cost's.
Would need too do a business plan also training. Most important affordability not much of this around these days , reason why short breaks are in short supply. If you are independent would be achievable

Sunshine35 Thu 24-Apr-14 01:07:18

I am awaiting a foster child and I work in education fulltime. I had to clear with my head about needing time off for LAC meetings etc. I am lucky to have a very understanding boss who fully supports me. With all the training and experince I already have such as working with children with SEN, speach and language training, child development to name a few I'm hoping I can go onto the full pay and have already discussed this with my SW but with talking to other foster carers if the LA can keep you on a low pay scale they will. I could not afford to leave my employment and foster only but hopefully I'm looking forward to the challange of doing both. My children are 21yrs old and 17yrs old so felt this was the right time to introduce a much needed child into a loving home and family. Good luck in your future decision!!!! smile

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