Ten Top Myths About Fostering
Our recruitment hub share their 'ten top myths' they hear about fostering...
Time and time again people tell us that they 'Would love to foster...but...' and tell us a reason why they think they wouldn't be suitable. So here in our latest blog we explore the 'top ten myths' we hear about fostering and give you the low down on the actual truth
1 – You have to be young to foster
At Coventry we take the view that if you think you can, you probably can! Coventry has foster carers who start the process at all different ages, some foster carers are in there twenties and some in their seventies. As long as you are over 21, have a spare room and are interested in making a real difference to Coventry children’s lives then we would love to hear from you! The most important factor is that you have the time, commitment and motivation needed to care for children or young people and you have the energy to keep up with them!
2 – You have to have a big house to foster
It is important for children and young people coming into the care system to have a space to call their own, so foster carers do need to have a spare bedroom. The only exception is if you are fostering a baby as they would usually share a room with a foster carer. Around 50% of children who need a foster placement have at least one brother or sister, who should be placed with them- they may be able to share a room with their sibling, but not with other children in the household.
3 – You can’t do other work if you foster
In Coventry we have foster carers who combine fostering with part time or full time work, depending on the flexibility of the job and needs of the children they care for. We also have fostering households where at least one member of the household is a full time foster carer. Fostering itself is considered a profession and offers career progression and specialisms. We recognise the skills, training and commitment required of foster carers by offering a ‘skills fee’ (rather like a salary- although foster carers are classed as self employed) to foster carers alongside allowances and other payments which should cover the cost of caring for the child.
4 – You have to be married or living together to foster
Single applicant? No problem. We have foster carers who are single, living with partners, married, straight or from LGBT community. The important thing is that you have a range of life skills that you can bring with you to the role of a foster carer. As with any parenting role, it is helpful if you have a supportive network around you of family and friends to offer support with fostering. We understand that fostering is a home based role and that meeting other people in similar situations to share the challenges and rewards that fostering brings can be really helpful. In Coventry we have weekly meet ups, monthly coffee mornings and a mix of smaller and bigger social events happening across the City, working closely with our ‘Foster Carer’s Association’ . This is of course, alongside the 24/7 support offered from your supervising social worker and support team
5 – You only need people to foster who are from particular backgrounds
All children have different needs so we need carers from all different backgrounds and religions to help care for Coventry children. We look to place children where their needs are most likely to be met, this can factor in ages of the children, cultural and religious circumstances. All our foster carers are approved for all aged children but most specify ages and numbers they are feel more comfortable to care for. We also provide a range of training courses around topics such as ‘Equality and Diversity’ to help foster carers to provide the best most appropriate care for children
6 – You need to have your own children to foster
We have foster carers whose children have grown up and left home, foster carers with teenagers living at home and foster carers with younger children. All of our social events include the whole fostering family and we have a range of activities and support for children of foster carers as they are a crucial part of the fostering task (see our previous blog on this). It is helpful for fosters carers without children to have some experience with caring for children, whether voluntary or through contact with relatives.
7- Men can’t foster
It sounds crazy to us- but we’ve found that a lot of people believe that men cannot foster but this is a complete myth!. Both women and men can make great foster carers as each individual brings their own skills and experiences to fostering. As long as you are energetic, resilient and understanding you can be considered for fostering regardless of your gender.
8 – You can’t foster if you have disabilities
When going through the process to become you have to undertake a medical check through your GP. The GP will advise if your disability is going to affect how you care for a child and give them a safe and positive environment to live in. If you are able to meet the needs of children or young people within your home, and meet their everyday needs then your disability should not stand in your way of becoming a foster carer.
9 – You have to own your home to foster
Foster carers do not need to own their own home. As long as the accommodation is safe and secure, with a spare room for a child or young person it does not matter if you own the home or rent privately or through social housing. If the home is rented you may need permission from the landlord to foster.
10 – Fostering is the same whether it is through your local authority or an agency
No there are a number of key differences. Local Authorities are the only organisations who place children. In Coventry we always look to our own team of foster carers first to place children when children require fostering. We want to keep children local, and close to family and friends and their school etc during what can be an unsettling time for them. At Coventry City Council we always look to our own team of foster carers to provide placements for children who require one. We only look further afield (to a private agency) when we have explored every possible solution to meeting the child or children’s needs from our own team first. This means that our foster carers are most likely to get regular placements within their preferred age range.
Coventry City Council has invested into fostering and the payments made to foster carers are comparable to rates paid elsewhere however we don't make a profit from fostering, our priority is to keep children safe
We are dedicated to keeping our foster carers supported and trained to be able to provide the best possible safe, nurturing care for Coventry children. We want to keep tax-payers money invested into the provision of local quality public services which help support our children and our City.
Thanks again to Laura and the recruitment team for this month’s blog- if you have any comments or questions please let us know!
If you are interested in joining our fostering community or to find out more about fostering for Coventry City Council please call the team on 024 7683 2828 or complete our short form and we'll call you back
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