Foster Care: The Myths vs. Facts

Fostering a child is one of the most selfless and inspiring things you can do, yet it is something that causes a lot of speculation and confusion. Misinformation can be a huge problem when it comes to thinking about fostering as it can put people off from embarking upon this fantastic venture.
Therefore we’ve put together a list of some of the main myths regarding this subject and have aimed to answer some of the most frequently asked questions that potential foster parents may have.
MYTH: You have to be part of a traditional, nuclear family to foster, or be without children
FACT: This isn’t the case anymore. Potential foster parents don’t have to be married, in a heterosexual relationship, of a certain race of religion or rich to be considered. There are many questions regarding more subjective situations, such as can you foster a child with a criminal record, but all good agencies examine each individual case carefully and differently to determine whether you are suitable or not.
MYTH: When fostering a child you are thrown in at the deep end with no support
FACT: All good agencies will support you every step of the way during the whole process, in terms of financial aid and emotional support. You will be provided with enough money to give them their basic needs and will be clued in with any issues they may have to help you deal with them. You can also get good books on fostering to help answer any other questions you have, as well as joining support groups.
MYTH: The birth family always comes first
FACT: The child always comes first when fostering, and their needs, wants and safety is always at the forefront of any decision that is made. Some foster children may have a strong relationship with their birth parents and this should always be respected, regardless of any feelings you may have towards them. The agency will no doubt help you deal with the birth parents and some may even have rules in place so that there is minimal contact between the two of you. You should always voice concerns to the agency regarding the child’s interaction with their family, however, as their safety is the number one priority.
MYTH: The process takes years to complete
FACT: The process is of course thorough and a number of different checks are completed on each person or family. However, if each person complies smoothly there’s no reason why it should take too long at all. The main things that are usually checked include:
  • Criminal record check
  • Health assessment/Medical
  • Local authority social services check
  • References from employers (if applicable) and personal references
  • Health and safety assessment of your home
These are standard and fairly simple procedures and can be done reasonably quickly. However if you do have any issues it’s important that you raise them as early on in the process as possible to avoid slowing down the procedure any further.

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