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Fostering for Gay & Lesbian Families


What is Fostering?

Fostering is about caring for a child in your own home. In some cases this may take a matter of days or weeks in others it may take much longer. If a return is not possible a decision may be made to find them a permanent new family, either through adoption or long-term fostering. In the vast majority of cases children in foster care will have regular contact with their families and their parents will continue to have responsibilities towards them throughout the time they are in foster care. Appropriate matching of a child and foster carer are of paramount importance to ensure the success of placements made.

Who can Foster?

Foster carers can be single or a couple, they do not need to be married. You can be gay, lesbian or heterosexual. Most fostering agencies welcome applications from all people. The majority of children needing foster care have had troubled upbringing and often have challenging behaviour as a result. Authorities however do offer training and support to foster carers on how to deal with these difficulties. Foster care agencies or organizations work with foster carers from all kinds of backgrounds, cultures and ethnic groups, and have one common standard which is to provide commitment and deliver high standards of care to children and young people.

Why do children need to be Fostered?

Most children that enter the foster care system have been referred from social services or an agency due to some form of neglect or abuse and are required to be housed in foster carer homes whilst social services mediate and resolve problems with the child’s family. Many of these children that have been referred will have return back to their homes, however, in some circumstances it may take days, weeks, months or even longer for their return or not at all. The foster carer will be required to maintain a level of contact as stipulated by the courts or social services with their family, this will have to be facilitated by the foster carers and support workers where required.

It is important to remember that for some of the children that have been placed with foster carers, may have behavioural or emotional issues which could present a challenge to a foster carer, many are upset that they have been removed from their family network and may be difficult to look after or care for. In these circumstances, such children are placed with specialised carers who have experience in dealing with the demands that will be placed upon them.

To be eligible to foster, you need a spare room, caring and loving nature, experience with children and can dedicate time and energy in providing a safe and nurtured environment, then this is the pathway for you!.

How long does It take to become a Foster Carer?

To become an approved or registered foster carer with a private foster care agency or charity usually takes approximately months from when you first made your initial enquiry. The same process can take up to a year for local authorities’ fostering services and other agencies.

What support is available to Foster Carers?

Initially, all potential foster carers will have to undertake a “Skills to Foster” training course which is a 3 day compulsory training programme. Following on from this, you will be required to complete the initial application form and start the assessment process. Foster carers will also be required to complete 21 hours of personal development training and sector specific training relating to child protection issues throughout the year. These training courses would vary dependant on which agency or local authority you sign up with. This training is a national requirement. New carers will also be required to undertake the Children’s Workforce Development Council Induction Standards in their first year as foster carers. On successful acceptance as a foster carer, you will be allocated a support worker or social worker who will maintain contact with you once a child/children have been placed with you. It will be their role to provide ongoing advice and support during the placement period of the child, you will also be required to competed daily logs and paperwork in relation o each child that it placed with you to monitor progress, achievements and personal growth/development made. It is important that at every stage the support worker or social worker is kept fully abreast and up to date with events taking place on a regular basis.

What Foster Care Allowances will I receive?

It is imperative that prospective foster carers do not go into fostering for any form of financial gain or rewards, if these are your intentions then this is not the right step for you. Both Financial allowances vary dependant on what agency or local authority you use and where about you are situated within the country.
All foster carers are paid an allocated allowance for the children and young people they look after, for individual pricing allowances, we suggest you refer to the specific agency you wish to apply to for fostering who will send you an information pack with their list of benefits and fees.

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