Becoming a carer parent is an amazing thing to do, and there are many children out there who need a stable home and a supportive, loving environment to help them flourish. You will be making an enormous difference in their lives, and they will do the same to yours, forming bonds that can last a lifetime. However, becoming a foster carer is also a very big responsibility, and it is not something that you should decide to do on a whim. If you have been thinking about becoming a foster carer, here are some of the key things you need to know first.
Criminal Record and Other Checks
Of course, as you will be caring for vulnerable children, there will be many safeguarding checks in place before you are given the green light to become a foster carer. You will have to go through a criminal record check, your home will be inspected, and you’ll need to provide information about your job and be interviewed about why you want to be a foster parent. This process might take some time, so it will require you to be patient until all of the essential checks have been completed.
You will have to undergo some training before you can welcome your first foster child into your home. Even if you have children already or have previous experience caring for kids, living with a foster child is a unique situation. It is not uncommon for foster children to have experienced trauma and upsetting scenarios in their previous homes or feel unsettled because they have been separated from their birth parents. Every child will have a different reaction to their situation, which is why you need to have specialist training to understand how to handle these circumstances appropriately and help your foster child feel self and settled in your home. You will also need to learn the right process of how to report issues if you have any concerns regarding your foster child and work with the agency to resolve this.
Children cost money, and if you already have children, you will understand how they can increase the monthly expenses. Food, school supplies, clothes, energy bills, and all of the other costs can put pressure on a household, and this sometimes puts people off from moving ahead with becoming a foster carer. While you will still need to manage your budget sensibly, you will be given an allowance as a foster carer to help cover these additional expenses. Look up more information on how much do foster parents get paid online, or ask your local agency.
Contact with Birth Parents
You will also need to be aware that your foster child’s parents will likely still be in the picture, and they will have visitation rights. How frequent they are and when they happen will be decided by the courts and organized via social services, but you will need to be supportive of your foster child as sometimes these visits can get emotional for them. Sometimes they are upset at having to leave their parents at the end of the visit, or they might have been unsettled by something that happened during that visit, such as an argument with their parents. You will cover this in your training and speak to your agency or the social worker for further advice about these visits.
If you are interested in becoming a foster carer, consider the points above and be ready to deal with these circumstances if you want to move ahead with your plans.