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Am I ready for this?

(3 Posts)
RachXhigginsX Sat 28-Apr-18 06:56:05

Hi, first time posting so please bare with me. Looking for some advice if possible.

I’ve always been interested in fostering but never really had the guts to pursue it. I’ve been thinking about it for a few months now and wondering if now might be the right time. I’ve always worked with children from being a nanny to working in nurseries and playgroups. I feel I have quite a lot of experience with children but I understand raising a child is probably a lot different. At this time I feel I have got all I can from working in a nursery plus I am finding it a struggle to keep a smile (love the children but working with a group of women is very difficult at the best of times).

I moved into a 2 bed flat a year ago now and have settled, I can definitely see myself staying here for the foreseeable future and would love to offer a child somewhere they can be happy. It’s an ex council flat on two levels so plenty of space as well as a garden outside the back. I live in a lovely small village with a nice school, parks, beach and cafes.

There are many reasons why I want to foster, probably too many to list. I had a tough time when I was a teenager, Mum had a drinking problem (no relationship with dad) but she was always good in terms of “I always had what I wanted” but she was nasty when she was drunk and it was a tough few years. Happy to say she is 6 years sober now and we have a great relationship. This is one of the reasons why I would love to foster as I know many children have parents with alcohol and drug problems and as a result have a very difficult life. I also became pregnant at the age of 15 but miscarried due to stress so I feel I’ve always had the maternal feeling. My boyfriend left me soon after and I have never come close to being in love with someone as much as I was in love with him (don’t think I’ll mention this though as probably a bit to much information).

I have no partner, not interested in having one either. I have close friends and family which I spend a lot of time with. I rarely ever drink, I don’t smoke or take drugs. I enjoy spending my money on other things such as days out and activities and would like someone to do this with.

I am 22, soon to be 23. I understand I am very young and not sure this would stop me from fostering?! I applied a few weeks ago and was sent a registration form which I am yet to fill out and send back. Not sure what’s stopping me. I get very nervous when being asked lots of questions and from my research online I can see I would have to go in front of a panel if approved which worries me. Sometimes I struggle to put into words my answers or how I feel and I’m not sure if this would affect me or make me look incompetent.

I have also seen that they like foster carers to be available full time for the child which would not be a problem as I would happily give up my job. I have noticed a few threads on here of people saying they couldn’t foster due to not earning enough as a full time carer and whilst I would love to foster I have to think realistically at the same time and make sure I have a viable income to keep a roof over my head and pay all the bills I.e what happens if you don’t have a placement for a month, how do you support yourself with no income?

Not sure what advice I’m looking for really but would love to hear other people’s stories and how you dealt with the process. Am I just to young and “inexperienced” to be doing this?

Sorry for rambling on, just trying to look at it from all angles. TIA

OP’s posts: |
Cassimin Sun 29-Apr-18 23:33:42

I'm with an agency and we are required to have fostering as my only job. We rely on my partners wages, couldn't cope on just the fostering allowance.
Personally if I were you I would leave it a few years. It's very full on.
You have to practically give your life up to this child.
It's not like having your own child, there are many restrictions.
At the moment you may feel like you don't want a relationship but you may in the future.
I mention this as I know of a carer who was divorced but a few years later started a new relationship.
It was really hard for her. The fc would not accept her partner although her bc did.
Social workers made it very difficult for her.
If you get a child long term that could mean the next 18 years of your life revolve around this child.
Many of the children coming into care come with lots of problems and serious behaviour difficulties.
There's plenty of time or maybe go through the process with the intent of doing respite.
I have children around your age and there is no way I would recommend them to become carers yet.

Mrsklm Mon 30-Apr-18 14:43:49

I would certainly say it’s worth filling the form out and having a chat with the social worker when they come to visit you, you’re not committing to anything just by filling out the form and enquiring. They are very informative. Me and my husband have recently been approved at panel. We have wanted to foster for a long time. My mum is a foster carer and we have been her support and very much involved, this I think made us want to foster even more. I can’t say at the age of 22/23 I would of thought about fostering but then again I think it depends on the person, I was a very young 22 haha. Some LA’s and agencies won’t consider below a certain age, It varies so I would ask about that. Fostering can be very time consuming and demanding. It’s not like going to work for the day and then coming home and relaxing, it’s 24/7. It helps if you have a good support network around you, family and friends who can help when you may need it. Fostering I would say is one of the most rewarding jobs you can do but it can also be one of the hardest jobs you can do. In regards to having a partner, you may not have one now but that’s not to say you won’t later on. My mum is a single foster parent and as far as I see it wouldn’t be a problem if she did meet someone, of course they would have to have the necessary checks etc but my mum does have a long term placement, I wouldn’t be sure if that would be the same if you didn’t have a placement at all. They do like you to be in a relationship for 2 years or more before considering you as a foster carer. I can imagine it feeling quite daunting especially if you haven’t any children of your own and that is something to bare in mind because children do completely change your life, defiantly for the better but it doesn’t come without hardship especially with looked after children they can sometimes have lots of different issues. You would need to complete a hell of a lot of training which will help you immensely and make you feel a lot more confident about how to care for children with all different kinds of backgrounds.
I will say if it’s something you definitely want to do then be prepared to be probed, during your assessment the social worker will want to know the ins and outs of your whole life, some people find this very intrusive and sometimes no longer what to continue with the assessment. Bare in mind that there may be gaps inbetween placements so it’s always a good idea to have some savings for when you don’t have a placement, some pay a retainer for gaps but if they do it’s not very much. I would suggest making a list of questions you have so you don’t miss anything when you’re speaking to a social worker or professional. Good luck 😊

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