Too often people count themselves out from fostering because they assume some aspect of their life means they wouldn’t be allowed to look after the most vulnerable children and young people in the Bradford district.
Don’t count yourself out – check our myth buster guide here:
1. You have to be in a relationship
Single applicant? No problem. We have foster carers who are single, living with partners, married, straight and from the LGBT+ community.
The important thing is that you have a range of life skills that you can bring with you to the role of a foster carer. As with any parenting role, it is helpful if you have a supportive network around you of family and friends to offer support with fostering. We understand that fostering is a home-based role and that meeting other people in similar situations to share the challenges and rewards that fostering brings can be really helpful. Foster carers with Bradford Fostering are part of a big fostering family and have regular meet ups, monthly coffee mornings and a mix of smaller and bigger social events happening across the district, working closely with our Foster Carers' Association. This is of course, alongside the 24/7 support offered from your supervising social worker and support team.
2. You have to own your own home
You don’t need to own your home, if you rent, you need a long term tenancy and your landlord’s permission to foster in the house. You do need a spare bedroom for each foster child to sleep in. Each child has to have a bedroom with enough space for a bed, chest of drawers, and a desk. If you have more than one spare room, so much the better. There are often brothers and sisters who need a foster family and if you have room for two (or more) children, this allows brothers and sisters to stay together in care.
3. Men can’t foster
Who says? We think it’s not the person’s gender but their skills, experiences and nurturing abilities that makes great foster carers. As long as you are energetic, resilient and understanding you can be considered for fostering regardless of your gender.
4. You can’t do other work and foster
Bradford Fostering works with many foster carers who combine fostering and part time or full time working, depending on the flexibility of their job and the needs of the children in their care. We also work with foster carers where at least one member of the household is a full time foster carer.
Fostering can be a rewarding role in its own right – you don’t have to be in work before you can foster. And it’s great that you will be around to offer your foster child your full time support. We recognise the skills, training and commitment required of foster carers by offering a ‘skills fee’ (rather like a salary- although foster carers are classed as self-employed) to foster carers alongside allowances and other payments which should cover the cost of caring for the child.
5. You have to be young to foster
At Bradford, we take the view that if you think you can, you probably can! Bradford Fostering has foster carers who start the process at all different ages, some foster carers are in their 20s and some in their 70s. As long as you are over 21, have a spare room and are interested in making a real difference to Bradford district children’s lives then we would love to hear from you! The most important factor is that you have the time, commitment and motivation needed to care for children or young people and you have the energy to keep up with them!
6. You can’t have pets and foster
Pets can be of great comfort to children and you can foster if you have a pet BUT there are some exceptions around dogs – it depends what kind of dog you own and how many you have.
7. You need to have your own children to foster
We have foster carers whose children have grown up and left home, foster carers with teenagers living at home, foster carers with younger children and foster carers who have never had their own children. It is helpful for fosters carers without children to have some experience with caring for children, whether through employment, volunteering or through contact with relatives.
8. You can’t foster if you have a disability
When going through the process to become you have to undertake a medical check through your GP. The GP will advise if your disability is going to affect how you care for a child and give them a safe and positive environment to live in. If you are able to meet the needs of children or young people within your home, and meet their everyday needs then your disability should not stand in your way of becoming a foster carer.
9. You only need people to foster who are from particular backgrounds
Every child and young person has different needs and so we need carers from all different backgrounds and religions to help care for children from the district. We try to find families for children where their needs are most likely to be met, this looks at the ages of the children, cultural and religious circumstances and their physical needs. All our foster carers are approved for children aged 0 to 18, but most specify ages and numbers they are feel more comfortable to care for. We also provide a range of training courses around topics such as ‘Equality and Diversity’ to help foster carers to provide the best most appropriate care for children.
10. Fostering is the same whether it is through your local authority or an agency
There are a number of key differences. When a child comes in to care, they become ‘looked after’ by the local authority. In the Bradford district, we always look to our own team of foster carers first to find a family for children when they require fostering. We want to keep children local, and close to their family and friends if it’s safe and their school during what can be an unsettling time for them. We only look at other possibilities when our own foster carers do not have any room and we have explored every possible solution to meeting the child or children’s needs. This means that our foster carers are most likely to get regular placements within their preferred age range.
Bradford Council has invested in fostering and the payments made to foster carers are comparable to rates paid elsewhere and we don't make a profit from fostering, our priority is to keep children safe and in our local community.
So you may have more to offer than you think.
If you have questions or concerns that have not been answered here, get in touch with Bradford Fostering. We are ready to talk to you and answer your questions today.