HI all im new here. Have been considering becoming a foster carer for awhile. trouble is i'm single and only 22! I am also not a parent. not sure that i would be taken seriously and considered. I have experience with children having babysat/looked after friends children since i was a teenager. i currently work as a support worker for adults with learning difficulties but am planning to start to work for myself at home. Ideally i would like to foster babies to under 5s. however i have a dog (lab) and also keep horses, sheep, chickens, ducks and pigs! it all sounds alot but actually its not too much work. Do you think that i would be remotely considered under these circumstances? thanks in advance for any replies.
Have you thought about being a short break foster carer for children with special needs? Given the amount of experience you have through work it sounds like you would be great. This is how I started fostering when I was in my mid 20's - and I loved it!
I would have said definitely go for it up until last week. I'm 23 and single. After a 10 month straight forward hiccup free assessment I went to panel in dec and was recommended for approval. However after panel a manager has the final decision of whether you should be approved or not. In my case this manager has refused to approve me based purely on my age and 'inexperience with children'. Don't really understand where she has got the inexperience part from since I work as a teaching assistant, have done camp America twice, have volunteered at an orphanage in Africa and spent loads of time looking after family and friends children. I really think she has made a decision based only on my age. I am going to appeal this decision but it doesn't look hopeful as the same manager will have the final say after the appeal. I would still say enquire and find out a bit more about the agencies in your area but also beware of the difficulties you might experience because of your age.
Hbr that sounds unfair if that is really the case. If your appeal is unsuccessful you can go to the IRM which is an independent appeals process for fostering. Sorry op to hijack. I would say that you should enquire with your local authority and get as much info as you can from them about the expectations on foster carers. I don't see why you wouldn't get your application processed. Good luck
Thanks pigeon street. I am going to the IRM but not sure as my problem is not with the panel the same person will have the final say. My social worker is supporting me 100% but the decision maker has made her feelings clear
thanks for all the replies. I plan to work from home so childcare won't be an issue. I have far more experience of the under 5s than older children and I don't really feel comfortable having teens on my own and at my age.
Only comment I can add is that I foster babies and find it very difficult to manage to get much done at home due to lo's needs so this may be a problem depending on what kind of business you have. We attend a lot of meetings, health appointments and have monthly visits from sw, ssw and health visitor. You may also find a lot of time is spent travelling to and from contact, often daily with very young babies.
Hope this isn't too negative as it is not intended that way, just something to think about, though you probably have already.
Sorry to hi-jack thread but in 30 years experience as a social worker and team manager for a fostering team for a LA and chairing a fostering panel for another LA on an independent notice, I have never heard of a decision maker over-ruling the panel. You have a right to see her reasons in writing and good luck with your appeal - sounds dreadful.
I think OP that you would have trouble being approved for 0 -5 without any experience of babies (babysitting and looking after friends' children) will not carry a great deal of weight. The other thing is most LAs have enough FCs for 0 -5 and the need is for older children (middle years age) (sibling groups) and children with disabilities.
However I think you should talk to your LA and take it from there.