So, you’re sold that Health and Social Care is the path for you. That’s great and all, but where on earth do you start...
- Provide 24/7 care for vulnerable children and young people who can't be cared for in their own homes
- You'll need excellent parenting skills, a strong sense of responsibility and good communication skills
- Can be emotionally demanding, but highly rewarding as you'll make a real difference to young people's lives
As a foster carer, you'll be responsible for caring for children, some who have often suffered from harmful and abusive past families.
- Welcome a child or young person to be part of your family
- Give day-to-day care to meet physical, intellectual, emotional and social needs
- Set suitable boundaries for behaviour
- Help with schoolwork and a positive attitude to education
- Keep young people safe from harm and abuse
- Work with other professionals
- Put forward the views of young people in your care even if you disagree
- Involve parents where possible
- Help the young person move on, in a positive way, to their next home
The amount you'll receive in fostering fees varies with the type of placement and the age and needs of the children. You may receive more fees and allowances working for an independent fostering agency.
During a placement, you'll be on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, just as you would with your own family. You'll work in your home with support from professionals. A driving licence and car would be useful, but not essential.
To be a foster carer, you'll need sensitivity and understanding, patience and the ability to work well with others, flexibility and openness to change, excellent verbal communication skills, customer service skills, thinking and reasoning, and basic computer skills.
Becoming a foster carer is open to you whatever your marital status, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. There are no set requirements.
You can get into this role by taking a college qualification, however this is not essential. These courses include Safeguarding and Protecting Children and Young People; Health, Social Care and Children's and Young People's Settings, and Children; and Young People's Workforce.
You could become a foster carer by contacting your local council fostering service, but you can also foster through independent agencies. You would go through a preparation and assessment programme to ensure you meet the needs for each individual child.
You'll need a spare bedroom for each child, British citizenship with no restrictions on your stay in the UK, and to be aged 21 or over.
If there are 2 adults in your household who want to become foster parents, you'll both need to pass the assessments. You'll have to pass Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.
With experience, you could set up your own agency.