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Meet The Foster Family Who Want More People To Help Kids In Care

Dan's been to meet Jess, who's 17 and has been talking to possible foster parents, and her foster mum Liz, for News Extra

Published by the Mix96 News Team at 6:07am 7th March 2016. (Updated at 6:08am 7th March 2016) 6-minute read.

Meet The Foster Family Who Want More People To Help Kids In Care

Imagine being in care, but having to leave your town or even county to find a home.

Over half of kids in care in Buckinghamshire are sent out of the county, because there aren't enough foster parents.

Dan's been out to meet 17-year-old Jess, who's been giving talks to people interested in fostering, and her foster-mum Liz.

Jess, who's pretty shy, told us why she's been getting up in front of an audience:

"I don't actually feel like I'm fostered, I just feel like I'm part of the family, because I've been here so long.

"I just want people to know what it's like to be fostered and to foster."

Ten people live in their house, from grandparents down to other foster children Liz is looking after.

But that definition between 'our kids' and 'foster kids' doesn't seem to exist.

Liz told us she just wanted to give children a home close to where they're from.

You can listen to Dan's full report here:

On their website, this is what Bucks County Council say about being a foster carer:

Our Foster Carers come from all sorts of backgrounds.  The one thing they all have in common is that they like children and are truly committed to helping them have the start in life they deserve.   

There are many myths around fostering and lots of reasons why people believe they won’t be allowed to foster. These simply aren’t true.

You can foster regardless of whether you’re:

  • Single, married or have a partner
  • Renting your home
  • From an ethnic or religious background
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, whether single or in a relationship
  • A parent or carer
  • There’s no age limit
  • Employed or in receipt of benefits

Here are some basic things you will need to be assessed as a Foster Carer:

  • a spare room, for the exclusive use of any foster child
  • be 21 years of age or more
  • to enjoy the company of children and young people
  • sufficient time to care for a child or young person
  • ability to work alongside other people in the child’s life
  • not to have a police record for offences of violence or against children
  • to understand or be prepared to learn, how children behave when they’ve been emotionally or physically hurt
  • willing to attend training courses and support groups

Your home

  • If you live in a council, privately rented or housing association home, we are required to check the suitability of your tenancy agreement
  • If you have a mortgage we will require confirmation of your finances, and the loan outstanding
  • Any child placed with you would need to have a bedroom of their own. In some circumstances foster children may share a room if they are siblings of the same gender or are under 3 years

Experience with children

It is not essential to have children of your own and we will provide you with excellent support and training to ensure you are confident to care for your foster child.  However, we may assess that you would benefit from more experience of caring for children. If so we will discuss this with you.

Your health

Foster Carers need to be physically and mentally well, in order to give the child the best care possible.  Therefore you will need to have a medical with your GP (which we pay for).  If you have a disability or a medical condition, we will take advice from your doctor and our Medical Adviser on your health and if there are any implications for fostering.

Your age

There are no age limits for fostering. You need to be mature enough to work with the complex problems that foster children may have.

  • To foster children under 12, you need to be 21 years or over.
  • To care for teenagers, you need to be at least 25 years.
  • If you are over 65 years, as long as you are fit and healthy you can be considered.

Working

Foster Carers can work whilst fostering, however, you will need to be available to care for children, including taking them to school, attending meetings and other appointments.

  • For pre-school age children, you need to be able to fully commit to fostering during the day and one carer will need to be available at all times.
  • For those children aged 5 – 18 years, you can work part time but you need to be flexible to allow you to respond to the child’s needs and be able to act in an emergency.
  • You also need to consider what arrangements you would make if the child or young person is ill, or excluded from school.

You will need to be available during school holidays as it is important that alternative care arrangements are not made for foster children on a regular basis. Having a job in general will not necessarily stop you from fostering.

Qualifications

You don't need particular qualifications or previous experience necessarily as long as you are willing to learn and participate in training. There is a requirement for foster carers to record the daily life of every child living with them so at a minimum you will need basic literacy skills.

Fostering is both challenging and rewarding and we will work closely with you to be sure that fostering is right for you. We will explore what you can bring to foster care and, hopefully, match you with a child or children who will gain the most from your care.

There's lots more info here.

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