We need to dispel the myths around who can foster
There are too many myths around fostering which prevent people from coming forward and applying to be foster carers.
In the UK we have a desperate shortage of foster carers – an estimated 8,600 new foster families are needed in 2014 – so it is important that we dispel these misconceptions.
Most of the myths that exist are based around who can foster. The fact of the matter is there are actually very few things that will preclude you from fostering. And it takes all sorts to do it.
There is not an archetypal foster carer which everyone else has to live up to. What is needed is a huge variety of people from an array of backgrounds, as no two placements are the same and the requirements vary from case to case.
We believe that our own life experiences have shaped us all differently and provided everyone with something unique to offer. Everyone has developed their own qualities which can prove a major advantage as a foster carer.
The problem is too few people realise this. Research by the Fostering Network, published during Foster Care Fortnight, has found that almost a quarter of UK adults would consider fostering either now or in the future. Yet, less than a third think they would be accepted as a foster carer if they applied.
It is fantastic that so many people feel so positively about fostering but we desperately need to turn those encouraging sentiments into actions. With such a massive shortage of foster carers what we cannot afford is for people who want to foster to think that this vital service is just something other people do. When you start to look into foster caring you’ll find that most aspects of the role are actually negotiable and the non-negotiable list is very small.
We are currently in the middle of Foster Care Fortnight and this blog is a call to action to all potential foster carers to stop thinking and start acting as your help is needed. If you are interested please do get in touch with our fostering team and let us answer any questions or resolve any doubts you might have.
You can also read more about who can foster and what restrictions do exist on the Perpetual Fostering website.