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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on fostering.

we are considering fostering

(29 Posts)
Bigoleheffer Fri 17-Oct-14 22:23:47

Just me and 12 year old ds and much loved cat. Spare room. I work full time though. We have had a discussion. I've thought about it for years. Ds and I discussed it. He's really keen. I am too but mindful of the logistics and realities. I will pursue it but would love to have advice. What are your views on single parent, good job, practical experience of safeguarding and a lovely family in a position to give a nice home to a child?

hollie84 Fri 17-Oct-14 22:29:54

Would you give up your job?

Bigoleheffer Fri 17-Oct-14 22:53:39

No. That wouldn't be practical. Ds has managed his whole life with me working. I would however consider a reduction in hours if that was what was necessary. I have a mortgage and no partner so we would have to consider all of those circumstances.

hollie84 Fri 17-Oct-14 22:59:13

What would you do with foster children while working? Are you considering older teens?

Bigoleheffer Sat 18-Oct-14 06:37:43

Not teens but school aged children. Not working wouldn't be an option.

Bigoleheffer Sat 18-Oct-14 06:38:20

Younger than my child who will shortly reach his teens.

mcdog Sat 18-Oct-14 06:43:51

You would have to reduce your hours to term time only 9-3 type hours if you want school age children. To be honest, even then it doesn't always work out because LAC so often have numerous medical/CAMHS/educational appointments. I don't mean to dishearten you, but outright saying you won't give up work to foster won't work.

mcdog Sat 18-Oct-14 06:45:43

I would get in touch with your local LA though and see what they say. At least that way you will know exactly where you stand. Good luck with whatever you do.

Bigoleheffer Sat 18-Oct-14 06:51:23

Thanks mcdog. I have to be realistic. I have bills and a mortgage I need to pay. I hadn't thought about all the appointments either. I guess that's why I'm posting here. Mumsnet is fabulous smile

scarlet5tyger Sat 18-Oct-14 10:46:27

I'm a single carer and it often works well - lots of foster children have very good reason to be scared of either males or females and can feel safer in a one parent family.

Money wise there's no getting round the fact that fostering does NOT pay well! (Agencies pay better but you're likely to get a more challenging placement, and maybe longer gaps). My own LA would not take you on unless you gave up work though - even school hours and term time isn't an option for a single carer. As I've said before on here, just because a foster child is "school age" doesn't mean they actually go to school!

Definitely speak to your local authority though, they're all different.

Bigoleheffer Sat 18-Oct-14 12:14:50

Ok, that sounds a little more promising. My sister is in fact a children's SW so I can chat her about it some more. Thank you.

NewEraNewMindset Sat 18-Oct-14 12:24:40

I have no idea what Fostering pays but this thread really is the explanation as to why LA struggles to find Foster Carers. If you have to be a SAHM it does really prevent so many people from being able to put themselves forward.

hollie84 Sat 18-Oct-14 12:34:43

Yes, needing to have a spare bedroom and an adult at home does make it impossible for many/most people.

Really I think the answer is paying foster carers a professional wage, similar to nursing or teaching. £26k a year for example still works out at a pittance per hour (less than £3 I think?) but at least it is possible to live on.

scarlet5tyger Sun 19-Oct-14 09:42:42

If I have a child in place for 52 weeks a year I "earn" around £10,000. Over half of this is the child's allowance, the other bit is my "wage". I survive on benefits.

I live with very damaged children, 24 hours a day, and am also expected to be as professional as the SWs, doctors, teachers etc who are involved with the children - without their salary.

The rules regulating foster carer's homes, friend's, family get tighter all the time. The paperwork increases every year. The number of meetings we have to attend does too.

Vulnerable children are being left at home longer as there isn't the money or the carers to bring them into care. When they are finally removed it's often too late for them to move on to adoption. They're also much more difficult to care for.

THESE are some of the reasons why there's a shortage of foster carers and why more of us are leaving every day.

(Sorry to have gone off on a rant, just want OP to go into it with her eyes open)

fasparent Sun 19-Oct-14 10:25:20

Agree with all we all are being taken for mug's by the establishment the Fostering system is out of date historically, Our kids should experience living with working parents. the real ups and downs of normal family life in every way. Question's often asked of children, Where do your parent's work. etc.: " Oh too live in a real world ??
Still we soldier on give the children the best we can under the circumstance's.

fasparent Sun 19-Oct-14 11:04:35

Forgot too add best Foster carer's , need too be role models too their charges, more support is needed , and realistic salary's for all, would not need private care system if funding was channelled more into support , as apposed too present systems.

riveravon23 Sun 19-Oct-14 13:44:25

Just to give you an example, Big. We have not had a single weekday free in the last three weeks - contact, meetings, reviews and so on - and this is for a senior school age child. I have to say this is of course unusual, though we have had periods of time like this before, but there is always at least one or two appointments to attend or transport the child to per week. It would therefore be impossible for us to work full time, even if that was just during school hours, because all the school related meetings (of which there are many) are of course in school hours too.

We work for our LA and receive a total of £160 for a child between 11 and 16, and £140 per week for a primary school age child. We are currently living on savings, and a carer's allowance for our adult disabled son, though thankfully paid up our mortgage some years ago.

Different areas have different rules and different rates of pay (a sibling of our foster child is placed with a independent agency and his carer's receive almost £400 a week). I do know however that our LA will not begin to assess someone unless there is someone at home full time, it's a firm rule. Although I now realise they are right and it would be impossible to manage otherwise.

ps have only three days of appointments next week!!!!

Bigoleheffer Sun 19-Oct-14 15:01:34

Thanks river. I'm guessing it's just not going to work for us. It's been worth looking in to.

riveravon23 Sun 19-Oct-14 15:31:09

Big, please continue to make enquiries because, as I said, every LA, and no doubt every independent agency, operate differently. Our LA may not be the norm - the worst perhaps but not the norm!! Also with the much higher rates of pay with an independent one, perhaps you would be able to manage financially without working outside the home, especially if you were to foster siblings, or more than one child at a time.

Feel free to contact me privately if I can help because don't want to say too much on here.

scarlet5tyger Sun 19-Oct-14 18:00:51

I know my earlier post was overwhelmingly negative but there's two sides to every story - and I wouldn't still be doing it after all these years if it was all bad.

There are loads of positives which (usually) outweigh the negatives I was ranting about - the first hug from a child who has always been touch aversive, huge smiles from poorly babies, gold stars at school for children who've always been told they'll never be able to compete with their peers...

If you really want to do it you can make it work. For example, I usually have two children at a time as Riveravon suggests.

cazzmags Sun 19-Oct-14 20:25:08

Big, I would suggest you speak to your LA and see what there stance is on their foster carers working.

La's vary hugely on their criteria and allowances/fees. Many LA's are now having to bring in fees to 'compete' with IFA's and they are having to be much more flexible in allowing their Carers to work.

It can be done, I've done it and worked full time with 2 (school age) children in placement. I have a husband and we've both had to make good use of our holidays to ensure child care is in place but with careful planning and family support we have managed. Our LA have supported me working and I think it does give foster children a positive view of modern family life.

Fostering is incredible, yes the system is out of date and sometimes infuriating to work in but the rewards are immeasurable. I can't imagine a time when I would not want to do it.

Good luck!

Selks Sun 19-Oct-14 21:48:52

OP there might be other forms of fostering that might work for you, eg respite fostering.

Goldenlab Sun 19-Oct-14 22:30:31

We work for an agency. There has to be a full time stay at home carer with our agency. Even when the children are of school age, they are often on reduced hours, not in school at all, or are suspended from school or college for long periods for various reasons, so it's never possible to bank on foster children attending regular school hours.

suzylee73 Sun 19-Oct-14 22:58:05

My agency also insist on a full time carer but they do pay enough for me not to work anyway.

I get just over 300 per week although many agencies do pay more but mines a charity. There can be gaps between placements though.

CannotGuaranteeNitFree Mon 20-Oct-14 22:42:15

Hi big. My situation is very similar to yours. I'm a lone parent with one dd 12. I work ft and its a good job. I was approved at panel earlier this year and I have a regular respite placement who we love having come to visit.

I need to finish work a couple of hours early once a month but it's easy enough to either make up the time or use annual leave. I love it and so does dd.

My social worker was trying to persuade me to consider long term fostering recently. There's a big need in my county. He said they do have working carers and the number of meetings is lower. This might have been a sales pitch though!

I would love to do it in the future but for now the respite is perfect. Dd still needs a lot of input and driving around and I think I would rather see her through the hormone years first!

Good luck and pm me if you want more info.

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