You Have the Skills to Foster
Whether you’re suffering career burnout or you have enjoyed a successful career and are looking into starting something new, challenging, and rewarding, then fostering children could be just what you are looking for.
Despite popular belief, you don’t need to be a parent, or even have experience in childcare to become a foster parent. There are so many jobs that provide the abilities and transferable skills for fostering, without being childcare specific.
Now, more than ever, we need caring and compassionate people to open their homes to vulnerable children. Foster care during the pandemic showed that the number of children needing foster homes rose by 44% during coronavirus, while the number of people enquiring to become foster carers dropped by nearly half compared to before the pandemic.
This number still hasn’t fully recovered, so there has never been a better or more important time to care for vulnerable children.
As fostering is a career, it’s important to us that our carers are rewarded for their hard work and dedication to changing children’s and young people’s lives. This is why we offer generous fostering allowances and rewards, so you can not only earn a competitive salary but use your allowances to further support and enhance your foster child’s life.
- Police officer
- Teacher or TA
- Nursery practitioner
- Prison officer
- Caring assistant
- Residential care worker
- Volunteer for children’s groups
- Volunteer for nurseries
- Social worker
If you have worked in any of these fields, or indeed anything similar, you will likely be able to demonstrate that you have transferable skills to be suitable for the different types of foster placements needed.
Even if you don’t have experience in these fields, don’t worry. It won’t prevent you from being accepted as a foster parent It’s likely that you would have gained the skills and attributes you need to demonstrate from your current job role, as well as general life experience.
If you’re considering a career in fostering but are unsure if you have the relevant foster carer skills or abilities, then rest assured. There are many job roles that provide you with relevant transferable job skills to become a foster parent, and the career you already have has most likely provided you with some, if not all, of these.
Some of these skills might come naturally, while others can be picked up during your foster training. And we’re here to help with anything that might be worrying you.
So, what are some examples of transferable skills? Let’s take a look:
- Energy to keep up with the needs of children
- Great listening skills
- Being flexible and able to adapt to change
- Ability to build relationships with others
- A caring heart
- Ability to show genuine love
- Being able to remain calm
- Being an excellent communicator
- Able to have fun
- A good sense of humour
- Being open-minded
- Being emotionally available
Having the ability to work as part of a team is crucial, as, when you foster, you’ll be working with your fostering agency as well as a team of education specialists and social workers. Teamwork is a great transferable skill that comes from many careers, so this experience will assist you greatly if you make the choice to become a foster carer.
In fact, you’ll be surprised how everyday experiences in your career and the life skills you’ve picked up have equipped you with the transferable skills (like those listed above) that’ll make you a brilliant foster carer.
The characteristics of a successful foster carer come from within. At FCA, we’re passionate about enhancing and embracing the lives of the children in our care, and it’s important that our prospective carers feel the same way.
If you are a parent, then you most likely already have the knowledge and understanding that can be transferred into foster care. Of course, you don’t need to be a parent to be a successful carer, and when you work with us, you’ll receive thorough foster training throughout your new career to support you and teach you the fostering skills levels needed to flourish.
Why is empathy important when it comes to fostering?
Children in care have often lacked stability in their lives. They might have come from an abusive or unstable home, or they might have experienced trauma and this can cause them to be guarded or quiet, especially when they first come to live with you. Remember, your foster child didn’t choose to live a life in foster care, and showing empathy and compassion can help make things a bit easier.
It can be tough for a child in care to trust a new person straight away. And the best way to help bring them out of their shell is by showing empathy; reminding them that you understand where they’re coming from and are there to support them every step of the way.
Being empathetic can be shown by doing your research and making an effort to learn as much as you can about your foster child’s background and experiences. This will help you put yourself in their shoes, helping to have a better understanding of how difficult this situation must be for them.
It’s also important to give them space and let them have privacy in their new home. They’ll need time to adjust and giving them that space can help them adjust to their new foster home.
Remember to always respond with kindness above all else. Use your active listening skills even if your foster child tests your boundaries.
Frequently asked questions
What is fostering?
Fostering is providing a safe and stable family home for a child or young person who can’t live with their birth family. There are many reasons why children need foster care.
Who can apply to become a foster parent?
Anyone can apply to foster with us. We welcome foster carers from all walks of life; no matter what your gender, age, race or sexual orientation. We do have criteria though:
- You need a spare room
- You need to be over 21
- You ideally need to commit to fostering full time
- You need to have British Citizenship or indefinite leave to remain
What is the process of becoming a foster parent?
Applying to become a foster parent involves a number of steps and starts when you contact us.
- Get in touch
We’ll have a chat to you talk to one of our friendly fostering advisors by calling 0800 023 4561 or filling in our enquiry form.
- We’ll visit you at home
We will arrange for one of our fostering advisors to visit you at home to talk to you in more detail and what to expect and how we will support you and find out a bit more about you.
- Start your application
If you decide you’d like to apply to foster with us, we’ll start you application process. The process involves filling in an application form and once accepted we will then undertake your fostering assessment.
- Fostering assessment
Following your application we’ll undertake a fostering assessment. Your assessing social worker will visit you and your family at home a number of times to speak to you and collect information about you and your life. It will help us to understand more about you. In addition you will attend a preparatory training course to help you learn more about fostering and how to handle different situations. The assessment process takes between four to six months.
- Meet the panel
Once your assessment is finished you will go to a fostering panel who will make their recommendation. The group is made up of people with fostering experience. Your social worker will help you prepare and be there for support. Read our blog about panel to help you understand.
Once approved the real fostering journey starts!
What training will I receive as a foster parent?
We pride ourselves on being a learning organisation and are proactive in helping both our foster parents and employees to develop their skills, knowledge and experience.
We are committed to providing high quality training that is accessible and relevant to all of our foster parents.
Got some more questions?
Find out the answers here.