When children have to enter the foster care system, they are often traumatised, scared, and confused. The first foster parents that care for a child in this situation are referred to as short term emergency foster carers, and it’s important that they’re well equipped to deal with the children that could come into their care temporarily. Foster parents are carefully screened by foster agencies, so if you want to become an emergency short term foster parent read this guide for help:
Image taken from Flickr
Call your department of social services and request information on emergency fostering. You’ll be able to find the information online on DirectGov.co.uk too, so read up on it.
The foster carer’s role is to provide high quality care for a child. You may be required to work with therapists, teachers, and doctors to help children deal with any emotional trauma or disabilities too.
A wide range of people are needed to care for foster children as children have very different needs. You’ll need to be willing to understand a child’s heritage, ethnic origin, culture, and language. You can become a carer from any type of background. You don’t need to be married either; you can be single, divorced, or living with a partner. Gay men and lesbians can become foster carers too. Providing you have a good support network and in good health, you should be fine to become an emergency foster carer no matter your age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
Preparation and Training
People who want to become any kind of foster carer need to go through preparation and an assessment. Usually, this is what you can expect:
- Having to attend groups where you’ll learn about the needs of children coming into foster care.
- Visits from a social worker.
- A social worker will then prepare a report which will be presented to an independent fostering panel, which recommends whether you can become a foster carer.
- You should expect an annual review and training to ensure you’re still fit to be a foster carer.
- All foster carers are given an allowance which should cover the cost of caring for the child in their home.
- If working for an agency, this amount will be set by them.
- Fostering is now being seen as a more ‘professional’ role, and a lot of local authorities are running schemes, which pay carers a fee. This is sometimes linked to the child’s needs, but also a reflection of the skills, experience, and expertise of the foster carer.
- Foster carers also get tax relief on up to £10,000 of their earnings, plus allowances.
However, if you’re considering doing this for the money then you’d be best off finding another job. You should foster children because you want to help, certainly not for the money.
If you like the sound of becoming a foster carer, then you need to take the first step and contact your local fostering agency. You can also join forums like the Fostering Information Exchange Network to share knowledge with other foster carers. Good luck!