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Author: Ruth Sinclair, Achieving for Children foster carer

Date: 21 October 2020

Becoming a foster carer isn’t simply a matter of ‘having room in your home and in your heart’

Fostering requires among other things; resilience, determination, a sense of humour, patience, organisation, team work, an ability to push hard for what the children in your care need, an excellent support network – let alone the skills to look after vulnerable children who have experienced traumatic starts to life before coming to live with you.

My family – my husband, the three boys and I – have been fostering for eight years and we love it. We love having other children as part of our family for as long as they need it. We love the knowledge that we’re making a difference to a child’s life and that we’re playing a vital role in our local community.

We’re not superhuman, so we know that many other people and families have these attributes too and could make fantastic foster carers.

‘I don’t know how you do it. I could never say goodbye.’

That’s perhaps the most common statement we hear when people find out we’re foster carers. And, to be honest, it’s probably the thing we say to ourselves the most too because saying goodbye to a child you’ve sought to love, care for and nurture as part of your family is really tough. We all shed tears, but when a child moves on whether that’s back to their birth family, adoption or independent living we can have a feeling of a job well done.

Fostering does require resilience, every day and not just when saying goodbye to a child. It’s an emotional and challenging task, but the rewards are huge.

‘Can I foster if…?’

I’m not sure why, but people often have a very strange view of who can and can’t be a foster carer.

As practising Christians we’re sometimes asked by other Christians if having an active faith is an obstacle to becoming a foster family – our answer is ‘as long as you can (and are willing to) meet the needs of the children in your care, then it shouldn’t be an obstacle at all’.

It’s that ‘meeting the needs of the child’ that is at the heart of so many of the answers to the misconceptions people have about fostering:

‘Can I foster if I haven’t got my own children?’

‘As long as you’ve got the relevant skills or experience to help you meet the needs of the child in your care, then whether you do or don’t have children is irrelevant.’

‘Can I foster if I have a disability?’ ‘Can I foster if I’m single?’ ‘Can I foster if I’m over 60?’

‘Yes, if you can meet the needs of the child in your care.’

We’re not superhuman, so we know that many other people and families have the attributes to make fantastic foster carers – so why not see if that could be you?

More information about Achieving for Children

Achieving for Children places children of all ages in the Boroughs of Richmond, Kingston and Windsor and Maidenhead, we are particularly looking to recruit foster carers who are flexible in their age preference as this would enable us to consider placing children of all ages with you if you were to be successful in the process.

The practical requirements needed to be considered to become a foster carer are below:

  • A spare bedroom
  • Be available during the day or have flexible working hours
  • Ideally have some experience of caring for children
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • A full driving licence and access to a car (although depending on logistics this isn't always necessary)
  • Be financially stable

If you would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer please email mandy.rimmer@achievingforchildren.org.uk, call 07894 229789 for an informal chat or visit the Achieving for Children fostering website. 

Updated: 24 March 2021