In the UK, a child comes into care in need of a foster family every 20 minutes. Over 65,000 children live with almost 55,000 foster families each day. This is nearly 80% of the 83,000 children in care away from home on any one day in the UK*.
With around 30,000 more children coming into care over the course of 12 months*, the fostering community is always looking for new people to become foster carers.
About foster care
Foster care is when a child or children are cared for by someone not from their birth family. They can be any age from a couple of weeks up to 18 years of age. As these statistics from The Fostering Network indicate, the fostering community is constantly looking for people to take on this important role to help a child grow into the young person they were destined to be.
There are many different reasons why children come into care which makes every case unique and therefore a range of skills are needed from a foster carer.
Key skills include being empathetic, understanding, resilient, patient and having good communication skills.
Communication needs to be clear between the foster carer and child or the young person, especially with teenagers. Going through puberty is hard enough and add to that the trauma of their situation makes good listening and verbal communication skills vital.
What experience do you need?
The key to starting your journey to become a foster carer is to meet our requirements as detailed at the end of this blog.
In terms of whether you have specific job experience, we find that there’s always transferable skills. For example, we have a foster carer who has a bookkeeping career.
Sarah comments: “Working with professionals my whole life I’ve been able to draw on this experience. Throughout the approval process and at placement stage you are dealing with so many professionals as well as the young person in your care. I’m a relatively calm and patient person which is really important when it comes to communication with your foster child in your care but also the team of professionals.
“As a foster carer, writing reports is a really key part of the job. As a bookkeeper I am thorough with details so this aspect of the role comes easily to me,” adds Sarah.
What’s important is that you want to work with children and young people and welcome them into your family. That you are able to support them, be an advocate for them and share our determination that you will never give up on a child even in challenging times.
How we support our foster carers
As a family-run agency, the children and foster carers are at the centre of what OwnLife Fostering does. Their wellbeing is crucial as is OwnLife Fostering’s responsibility to provide 24-hour support.
The agency runs support groups being a place for carers to share successes and challenges of the role with the rest of the team. It is vital to share experience and help one another as well as to attend a range of training workshops to continually learn.
OwnLife Fostering also provides therapeutic support, when required, whether that’s for the foster carer or the young person in their care.
Become a foster carer in London
To become a foster carer, you need to meet certain requirements:
- Be over the age of 23
- Have good communication skills (written and verbal)
- Be able to provide a secure home and environment
- Have a spare bedroom
If you are interested in knowing why foster care is important, becoming a foster carer, and have the qualities to be a good role model and prepare your foster children and young people to fulfil their potential then give us a call on 020 8313 3304, or complete our online contact form.
*Statistics source: The Fostering Network