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

Considering fostering

(5 Posts)
PenguinBollard Tue 30-May-17 10:54:24

Hi all,

I've stalked this section for quite a while and have been considering fostering for several years but have held back because of my age (I'm 25 now) and a few other uncertainties. I feel like I'm getting close to applying now, however, and have a few questions.

I've been a Nanny for about 7 years, have a lot of experience across all age groups and have looked after some challenging children before (though this has been due to over-indulgent parents, rather than neglect). I am, however, "only" 25 and a lot of agency sites I've looked at have said that they won't take applicants under 25 so I'm concerned by age will be a factor - and may limit my age groups too?

From what I understand, I'll need to give up work to foster which is totally fine. I finished my last Nanny placement in March and moved back to the Midlands to be close to my family, I started a new career in Project Management but I really don't enjoy it and feel incredibly drawn to childcare. Nannying isn't really an option around here and to be honest I want to try and "give back" at this stage and feel like fostering is the best way to do this given my past experience and my skillset. So giving up work is fine, however I do run a small business on the side that I do for pleasure and "pocket money". It only takes up a few hours a week and can be done around my commitments - realistically, will I need to give this up too?

Also, if I were to be placed with under 4s (which would be my "natural" age group, I'd say) I'm presuming I'll need to be with them 24/7? This is going to sound incredibly selfish, but I do really value the time I get to go to the gym (3 times a week or so) - I assume that if the little one isn't at school, I'll have to give up this hobby?

I've read a lot on here and elsewhere of people spending their full fostering allowance on the children, which is amazing and I'd love to give as much as I could (both financially and emotionally) to the child/ren, however it would be my main source of "income" - realistically would I actually be able to afford to foster as I am single?

Sorry for all the questions and general ignorance! Any tips or advice is extremely welcome.

familyloveforever Thu 01-Jun-17 10:05:59

Hello I'm close to going to panel so only just going through the process of becoming a foster carer (hopefully fingers crossed)

The agency I'm with will allow me to work Part time around the children (I'm opting for school age) you can have a support network (mine will be my parents) so if me and my husband want a night out my parents can have the fc as well as my own children to enable this. So if you have someone close that could babysit and they have all the necessary checks then that could work. I'm not sure if you'd be allowed to put a fc in a crèche mind.

Your age wouldn't be an issue for most agencies. Do a lot of research on who you go with la or private agencies. Have a few out for the initial visit and you decide which one best suits you. I wen with a private agency because of the continued support and training they offer especially out of hours
Hope this helps, go for it

EnglishIrishRose Sat 03-Jun-17 08:08:51

I would also say go for it, you never know until you ask! It's a long assessment process and only your assessing social worker can tell you whether you're right for it or not. Remember also that the process is about you finding out whether this is right for you too. Never be afraid to ask questions.

Re: your age, I was 25 when we applied and got approved on my 26th birthday! It sounds like you have loads of experience so age needn't be a barrier. They want to know that you have the maturity to do this (it is a hard thing to do) and that you have the time, love and space to give a child in your life right now.

Financial assessment is part of the process, they will want to know that you can manage without the fostering income as well. I personally haven't goven up work but gone freelance. This gives me complete flexibility. Every agency or LA differs but just be aware that the time commitments are much more than birth children. Training, meetings, contact, and they need more 1 to 1 time with you usually. With children under school age, my agency would expect me to be at home with them and I think most would. Though if you have a good support network you can call on them to take the kids for a break.

I can't stress this enough - please talk to your local authority before you go looking for outside agencies. See what they can offer you. They need carers desperately and you are more likely to get a placement quickly and have less gaps with an empty bed. So if you are wanting to dedicate yourself to this then the LA might be your best option. Especially if you want younger children, they will often go to local authority carers first.

Case in point, I am with a non-profit agency (most of them are profit making) and I haven't had a placement for 6 months now. So you may wait longer than you think.

Best of luck with it all, PM me if you have any more questions.

thethoughtfox Sat 03-Jun-17 08:57:05

It sounds like you want to foster as a 'job' to earn money while doing something you think you will enjoy. This is not the right reason. The money is for the children's expenses and to enhance their quality of life not to pay your gym membership etc

EnglishIrishRose Sat 03-Jun-17 13:32:16

thethoughtfox that is a bit harsh.

I had a lot of thinking to do about whether I could afford to foster, and I'm in a couple so have the benefit of a second income (not big enough for us both to live on). I did this to help children, but I still need to pay my bills, we all do and we don't have a money tree in the garden.

Fostering allowances are absolutely to be spent on the children and most LA's or agencies will expect you to show how this has been spent. You are looking after someone else's child after all. But there is also a fostering fee on top of that to compensate our time, expertise and commitment to these children. And to pay our bills!

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