Why do I need a spare bedroom to foster?
Fostering is giving a child and caring, safe and stable home when their parents are unable to look after them. As with any life-changing decision, there are many questions about the process and what you need to become a foster parent. We’ll be giving you the answers to some of the most important questions, and telling you what you need to help you become a foster carer with FCA.
By far one of the most common and reoccurring questions we receive is do you need a spare bedroom and why do you need a spare bedroom to foster a child.
In order to become a foster parent, the first question is simple to answer; YES you need a spare bedroom in your home to foster.
There are a number of different reasons why you need a spare bedroom in your home. Primarily it is part of the Fostering Services National Minimum Standards. But not only this, there are many other factors such as the child’s safety, security and privacy to also consider.
The benefits of having a spare bedroom
Every child and young person requires their own space, regardless of whether they’ve been raised in foster care.
A foster child's bedroom is a space in which children and young people can call theirs, giving them the much needed opportunity to play, discover, be imaginative and creative all without excessive disruptions.
Some children who are in need of fostering may be troubled from previous experiences so providing a bedroom for them will help them to process events from their life and give them a place for time to reflect and think. Somewhere they can feel safe, calm and relaxed. Providing a room helps them process events from their lives as well as protecting them from potential harmful or disruptive behaviours.
Safety, security and privacy
In addition, for children in foster care their own bedroom often offers safety, privacy and security that cannot be found in other spaces in the home. It enables the foster child to have a safe haven somewhere they feel less vulnerable, enabling much needed time for them to settle into their new environment. Could you imagine sharing a bedroom with someone you didn’t know or had just met in a house that was unfamiliar? A scary thought. Having their own bedroom will help children and young people settle into their foster home and become accustom to new routines, house rules and boundaries. There may be times when your children or you as adults will want or need your own space and privacy too and everyone having their own bedroom enables this to happen. It allows for everyone in the fostering family to adapt.
Lots of foster children have never had a bedroom of their own before. Your spare room could be the safe, private space they need to adjust to their new life and routines. Because some foster children have grown up in homes with few to no boundaries or rules, it can take time for them to adjust to living with a family that has these structures. Their bedroom can help them find their place in your family and understand these boundaries. That’s why it’s important you have a spare bedroom, and your foster child doesn’t just share a room with someone else in your family.
Does the bedroom need to be a certain size?
There isn’t a set size. The bedroom should also be big enough to fit a single bed, storage such as chest of drawers or wardrobe so there is a place to store personal belongings and a small desk for homework and play or have some time out for themselves.
Helping make your spare room into their room
Having a spare room is the first step, but how can you turn it into a magical space a foster child will adore? Without spending too much money, or completely renovating the whole house, we have some initial tips on how to prepare a bedroom to ensure your foster child feels comfortable, secure and most importantly, feels at home in your house.
- Upcycling items – upcycling items is not only on trend but it is a cost-effective, easy way to turn furniture in your spare room from drab to fab. From adding a lick of paint to those four year old wardrobes, to adding netting over the bed to add a more regal, four-poster feel to the bed, there are lots of things you can do which don’t have to break the bank.
- Adding splashes of colour – for a more dramatic change to your spare room, you can add colour to your walls to lighten and brighten the room up.
- Ensuring it is a happy place – most importantly, the key to looking after a happy foster child is by giving them time to settle into their room, your home and including them in your life activities.
- Personalisation – Part of a successful placement is working closely with the child to change the room around to make it theirs, this does not have to be expensive. A favourite football team poster, a poster of their favourite online game, a rug they have chosen, new curtains they have chosen, their books on display on a shelf, their favourite toy next to their bed, all of a sudden you have a transformation, and they have been part of it.
Find out more
Ready to start fostering a child or young person? Or just want a bit more information to help you decide whether fostering is for you? All you need to do is contact us.