It’s a new year, which will see many of us thinking about our goals and dreams for 2023. You might want to improve your health or pick up a new hobby, but have you ever thought about a fresh start in your career? We know the idea of changing careers can be pretty daunting, but it’s also an exciting one too. From learning new skills to having a completely different life purpose, it’s an opportunity to better yourself and gain new experiences.
Why is foster care important?
Careers in the foster care system are in high demand right now, due to a national shortage of foster families. Every year, around 30,000 new children come into care, however with a significant increase in referrals due to the pandemic and not enough foster carers available, vulnerable children are left without a safe, loving home – something every young person deserves to have.
Growing up without this stability affects children in a variety of ways. From their ability to form relationships to how they process and regulate emotions, all aspects of their development can be severely impacted. This is why foster care is one of the most rewarding careers out there. It’s a job that enables you to actually transform a young person’s life. Whether it’s providing a safe place to live for a few nights or supporting a child through school and helping them reach their full potential, the work a foster parent does is crucial in giving vulnerable – and often misunderstood – children a chance at life.
Here are 6 reasons why you should consider a foster care career in 2023 and help change children’s lives.
It’s a career that makes a difference
Unlike many desk jobs, fostering actively makes a world of difference. It’s crucial in helping to ensure the next generation of children grow up in healthy, secure environments with the chance to reach their full potential. Foster carers don’t just provide a safe place for children to live – they are role models, teachers and parents all rolled into one. With the help of foster families, foster children can learn to overcome trust issues, build confidence and grow into successful young adults with promising careers of their own. Many even go on to have careers in the foster care system themselves, creating a positive cycle of change.
It’s not only life changing for the foster children, but it’s also a rich, rewarding experience for you and your family. Fostering can open your eyes to new cultures, teach you things about yourself you never knew and give you a deeper purpose in life.
You get to leave a legacy
As short-term fostering is the most common type in the UK, foster parents are likely to open up their homes to many different children. From passing on wisdom to creating family traditions, fostering is a career that enables you to leave a legacy that matters. It can be little things like teaching a child how to brush their teeth to bigger things like helping a teenager get back onto a positive path. Everything a foster parent does goes towards helping children develop independence and become the best versions of themselves. Now that’s something to be proud of.
There are thousands of children without a home
When a child is placed into the care system, they are scared and confused. Being separated from their birth family, even those who have been abusive or neglectful, can cause a child significant stress. That’s why it’s important they are placed with loving, supporting foster parents who can give them the stability they need during what is a very difficult time. No child should be denied the comfort and security of a loving home, but unfortunately, it happens. When people decide to embark upon a foster care career, they’re not just choosing a job to pay the bills. It’s a commitment to giving every child the opportunity to live a happy, healthy life.
You can use other skills to become a great foster parent
You don’t need to have superpowers to be a brilliant foster parent. Skills you’ve learnt in previous jobs, through having your own children or nuggets of wisdom you’ve picked up in life can play a big part in your role as a foster carer. Transferrable skills like having empathy, being a good listener, organisation skills, compassion, resilience, an open mind and having a bucket-load of patience are all traits we look for in future foster parents.
You don’t even need previous experience in caring for a child. Of course, this is an added bonus if you have, but it’s the personal qualities that stand out to us. As long as you’re determined to make a difference, we can help you become a great foster parent.
You get ongoing training and 24/7 support
With many careers, it’s easy to hit a ceiling, however being a foster parent means you’re always learning something new. At FCA, we understand that fostering is a professional career, so professional development is something we actively encourage. We ensure our foster parents get access to amazing training courses where they can enhance their existing skills or specialise in a certain area, like fostering with trauma, disabilities or autism. Our ongoing approach to training means foster parents are equipped with the knowledge they need to successfully care for children with different needs.
Fostering with FCA is like joining a big family. You have a network of professionals at your fingertips as well as a community of other like-minded foster parents to share experiences with. From dedicated social work support and therapy services to peer support groups and regular fun events in the community, you’ll realise that when you foster a child with FCA, you’re never alone. That’s why foster care is such a unique and rich career.
You get generous fostering allowances and benefits
Fostering a child has its challenges, so it’s only right that foster carers are rewarded for their hard work and dedication. Independent fostering agencies (IFAs) pay more than local authorities, but the exact amount you get depends on where you live and the child you’re fostering. The allowances cover all the costs of caring for a child, including meals, clothes, bills and presents. You also get a minimum of 14 nights paid respite, which is where the child in your care lives with another foster family while you have a well-earned break. There are also additional bonuses for the length of service and hitting fostering milestones. The fostering allowance also gives you a number of tax exemptions and won’t affect any of your existing benefits.
We could give you a 101 reasons why you should consider a career in the foster care system and why foster care is important, but the main one will always be the fact you get to change a child’s life.
If you want more information about fostering, download our Beginner’s Guide to Fostering a Child handbook. It’s everything you need to know about fostering in one, handy place. Or, you can get in touch and we’ll answer any questions you have.
The right style of foster care for you
We provide several types of fostering to ensure we meet each child and young person’s requirements and match the foster children with the best type of foster home for their situation. Some children and young people may just need fostering for a few nights, while others need a more permanent family environment.
Welcome a child or young people who need to be looked after in temporary basics anywhere between 1 or 2 nights, a few weeks or months.
This is where you invite a child into your home on a long term basis, providing a stable family home to a child for many years.
Parent & child
Where a parent often a mother and their baby, comes to stay with you. Usually last for last around 12 weeks.