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

Any advice please??

(7 Posts)
Stephm91 Fri 01-Jan-16 00:59:08

Considering foster care
Hi everybody hope you've all had a lovely Christmas!

Ok so while I'm not a parent I've only used this forum a few times. But I know that there. Are a good few foster parents who are members and hoped I coule pick your brains. Particularly those who are single foster careers.

I'm 24 and while I realise that is probably considered young for fostering but I've come to the conclusion that this is one of the only career choices that will make me truly happy. I understand that it's not all happiness and rainbows and that most of it is hard gruelling work. And I also understand that this is not a replacement for having my own children. Which I am unable to do.
But I honestly do believe that it is a career I could be good at and one with the most job satisfaction for me personally.

There isn't actually an awful lot of helpful information on my LA website so thought I could ask some questions here.
While money doesn't bother me and as long as the kids have food, clothes, essentials and safe toys I can live on the minimum with no bother. However I do need to assure that I could still afford things like rent and such if I were to leave work to follow this. Does anybody have an idea what I could expect to make in a week?
I want to foster 0-5yrs if possible as this is the age group I have the most experience with...

Any advice on applying etc would be so much appreciated. Thank you!

Happy new year!!
Stephanie x

infife Fri 01-Jan-16 04:42:49

Hi Stephanie, Happy New Year!

New carer here, so can't comment on the realities - but we have taken three years to get to this stage (long story!), including being assessed twice (first time was for adoption, which we were approved for, but ultimately decided to foster first). So I can only bring theoretical answers, but here goes.

Age - you're young, but not the youngest I'm aware of. Carers of any age will need to demonstrate amongst other things emotional resilience, experience with children, a support network and if you're in a relationship, the strength of that relationship.

Different agencies and local authorities will have different policies, so make sure you speak to a number of them to get the match that works for you. For example, our agency requires one of the couple is a dedicated foster carer, and cannot undertake employment elsewhere; however, I know our local authority does not have this requirement.

When considering different agencies and your local authority be sure to ask about what training is offered, both before (Skills To Foster) and once you're approved. Ask what sort of support is available (do they have in-house professionals?).

You've asked about money - while it is possible for someone to foster as a career, remember that you're working 24/7, so you'll be working for less than the minimum wage. Consider gaps between placements too.

If you're a single carer, you might only be approved for one child - and I can't imagine you'd make ends meet. As a couple, the affordability changes.

Our local authority pays a tiny fee, whereas agencies would typically pay around £400 a week for a child of the age you're looking for. That payment comprises both your fee and money to be spent on the child. Consider how you might cope with a lengthy gap between placements. It's really important that stability of the home, which includes financial security, is as steady as possible, so you will need to make sure your calculations don't include too much uncertainty or risk.

It costs nothing to have a chat with an agency/LA, and even discussions suggest now isn't the right time, you'll learn what's expected of you when you apply for real.

Good luck!

willowrose30 Sat 02-Jan-16 10:49:05

We became carers at a younger age and it was seen as a positive thing. It is without a doubt the best decision we made but it is life changing. The children are obviously very damaged and come with a lot of emotional and behavioural issues as you expect. When you are going through the initial process the social worker will want to see evidence that you are able to cope both emotionally and financially. Do you have a support network to rely for instance, family, friends etc.
We have fostered from babies to teenagers and I think generally it's preferable that you are open to a wider age group.

Financialy you would be fine while you have a child in placement it's the gaps (which can be lengthy that you would need to account for) I know that you can claim housing benefit and JSA between placements but unfortunately I don't have much info on that as my partner works. Maybe someone else can offer more insight into it.
Are you looking to foster one child or siblings?

Feel free to pm me if you have any questions or just want a general chat about fostering etc.

Best of luck.

Littlemeg37 Sun 03-Jan-16 01:20:56

Ive been a single carer for 18 years now and cope financially. I had one son aged 4 when I became approved and I was 36, I sometimes had 3 children placed with me but usually it was 2, all younger than my son. I then adopted my younger son after he was placed with me aged 6 months as a foster child and was still with me aged 3 when it was decided he would be adopted, hes 14 now smile

When I first started fostering I was on income support but now I am classed as self employed (it all changed) so claim WTC which helps if you do have gaps between placements. I have been lucky though and the longest gap I have had is about 3 months. At the moment I only take one child, just needed a bit of a breather, getting and all that smile Just ask if you have any questions.

ohoneybeeo Tue 12-Jan-16 21:24:14

I'm a single foster carer in my 20s also, with no children of my own.
Every LA differs..for 0-5 in my LA you would get £150 a week, but my LA offers one of the lower allowences.
PM me and I can give you more info on the assessment smile

Cassimin Tue 12-Jan-16 22:35:01

If you decide to go with an agency you will be paid more than LA. Some on here say that agencies only get older or hard to place children, I haven't seen that this is the case. It's true that LA will place with their own carers first but if they have no suitable carers they use the agency. I know LA carers who have changed to agency as they were not happy. I also know agency carers with babies and children who have no behavioural problems.
At the moment you can get WTC, though this may change to universal credit.
I think you will get help with rent and council tax as for benefit and tax purposes your income is regarded as £0.
I don't think that your age would be a problem.

suzy2b Fri 15-Jan-16 08:06:14

i don't claim wtc or ctc but i do claim income surport even though i am a foster carer with 2 children which i am able to put aside so if i was to have no children i could fall back on this but the 2 children i have which started as short term are now long term

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