Can I Foster? Single Male Foster Carers
Fostering is all about the levels of care, love and attention that an individual can provide to a child, rather being about their age, gender or sexual orientation. On the other hand, we understand that there are many myths, questions and misunderstandings surrounding just who can and who can’t become a foster parent.
In the first part of our short series, we aim to dispel the myths around single male foster carers, who are still a largely underrepresented within the fostering community.
For anybody who has embarked on a fostering journey, you’ll know how rewarding and positive this experience can be for you, your family and the future of a foster child.
Over the past few years, we have found that attitudes towards men and childcare have changed dramatically. In fact, it is estimated that over 80% of fostering households in the UK feature male involvement, however, nearly a fifth of males, especially those who are single, still feel that they’re unable to become a foster parent.
Although It is apparent that very few barriers actually exist for anybody wanting to become a foster parent, we still find that single males are extremely underrepresented as foster carers.
Here at Perpetual Fostering, we are incredibly proud to be at the forefront of the fostering industry, as we’re immensely supportive of all foster carer applications, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or circumstances.
There is no doubt that single male foster carers can still provide a foster child with the the same high level of love, care and affection than those who are represented much more within the fostering community.
Male foster carers can improve previous relationships
Without being too overly critical of the reasons why children end up in the arms of loving and caring foster parents, we do find that a lack of a consistent and healthy adult male role model can be a common factor.
Ultimately, male foster carers, whether single, married or widowed, have the capability to help overcome any potential negativity that a foster child may be suffering from by providing a relationship that is warm, reliable, trustworthy and constructive.
We also find that males who have become part of a fostering family have been successful in changing the perception of the male role in domestic life, so all that cooking, cleaning and washing up does finally pay off.
At Perpetual Fostering we know that a male foster carer’s role, whether a single or married parent, is not one that is on the peripheries of a child’s needs, but a role that is central and pivotal in bringing about a happy and successful future for a foster child.
Whether you’re just starting to think about fostering for the first time, or maybe you’ve been doing it for years, our selection of trained social workers, together with our renowned fostering community, have been successful in providing first-class training, support and encouragement to all male and female foster parents, regardless of background or stage of the fostering journey.
So, if you’re a single male and actively interested in becoming a foster parent, then what are you waiting for? Apply online or speak to a member of our dedicated team today.
At Perpetual Fostering we pride ourselves on the support our foster carers receive, but we also like to encourage our foster carers to give each other peer-to-peer support. This is why we have our monthly foster forum, so our carers can come together and share their experiences and understanding of foster care.
We may initiate the forums, but the participants determine the topic of each occasion. This is key, as forums are held specifically with the interests of foster carers in mind. No matter how supportive and experienced a social worker may be, they are not the ones directly facing the issues foster parents are confronted with everyday. We’re well aware that every experience is nuanced; as facilitators we endeavour to stay sensitive to that.
By having the monthly forum – this space in which you can freely interact with fellow carers – you are sharing your experiences with the people who have made similar choices in becoming a foster carers, just like you. They’re in exactly the same boat as you, and know what you’re going through. By sharing stories, receiving advice, and asking questions of other foster carers, you can learn and develop yourself.
Over the years, we’ve observed how these forums help promote and nurture a community spirit, which often leads to other group activities. There have been camping trips, Christmas parties, and sponsored walks. These events are a great way to reaffirm a sense of community among our carers, maintain friendships, and welcome new foster carers into the fold. All levels of experience and backgrounds are of course welcome: the outreach of foster carers into the area around them is only increased when backed by a community.
We also have a buddy and mentoring system, which allows for more experienced foster carers to have one-on-one time with newer foster parents. We also encourage our carers to gain national qualifications in mentoring, so as to be fully equipped to help their buddies, and so enrich the community.
For more information on our fostering community, visit this page or contact us via email or phone.
It is important to celebrate the contribution of foster carers.
The role they play is absolutely vital for the children and young people they care for, and benefits society as a whole. It is a professional role which deserves to be recognised. This is why we hold a Celebration Day every year for foster carers to share with the children the care for, their partners and their wider families.
The event, which we will host next month, also serves to bring together the whole Perpetual Fostering community. Although our foster carers meet regularly at our monthly forums, by including everyone, the Celebration Day provides a highlight in the year. So we like to make it extra special day – this year there will be entertainers, music and awards will be given out as part of the proceedings.
Reinforcing community spirit
The day really helps to reinforce the community spirit which exists among our network of foster carers. They frequently tell us that this sense of community is one of the main reasons why they decided to foster with Perpetual so we try to facilitate and nurture this wherever possible.
Many of our foster carers know each other well, some went through the approval process and foster care training together, and they want to stay in touch to see how each other is progressing. Sometimes this can be difficult as they may live far apart or just struggle to stay in touch because of their busy lives.
By having regular events, however, we offer a way for foster carers to maintain those vital relationships.
These events are also important as they let foster carers know they are part of something bigger, and they remind everyone that the support of others is never far away.
No foster carer wants to feel abandoned with no one to talk to about their daily issues. With a fostering agency like Perpetual, foster carers get all the professional support they need it – help and advice is only ever a phone call away. But by being able to also talk things over with your peers, it offers a different type of support.
Foster carers have the same perspective as each other as they are travelling the same journey, so they can offer each other insights that other people simply can’t.
Recognising the wider support network
The monthly foster carer forums do give foster carers the chance to share their experiences and provide each other with mutual support but events like the Celebration Day go further. They give foster carers the chance to meet in a less formal setting and include the whole fostering community.
The Celebration Day does, after all, also recognise the contributions of the broader support network – the partners, the extended family and, of course, the children themselves.
If you like to know more about the community events which are open to our all foster carers, or the support which is available from Perpetual Fostering, please get in touch with our team. You can do this either by either getting in touch on our website or by calling us on 0845 1304748
Online forums, such as FosterTalk, provide foster carers with a great opportunity to talk each other about fostering. The ability to see how other people are coping with the daily issues they face can be really insightful.
It is even more beneficial when foster carers can converse in real life. Networks of foster carers, which exist at local level, offer mutually supportive relationships which benefit everyone. These networks are invaluable and Perpetual Fostering considers its own fostering community to be its core foundation.
The benefit of knowing your peers
No matter how supportive your supervising social worker is, their experiences of foster care will never quite be the same as your own. They are not the ones dealing directly with the issues you face at home.
By talking to your peers, however, you are sharing your experiences with people in the same boat as you, with the same worries. Asking questions and listening to people going through the same thing can be a great way to learn and develop as a foster carer.
This is why Perpetual Fostering arranges monthly forums for all our foster carers and organises a buddy and mentoring scheme which brings new and experienced foster carers closer together.
The monthly forum provides foster carers with an opportunity to pool their experiences. We may initiate these forums but this is a space for the foster carers and they determine the topic of conversation.
These forums also help nurture a community spirit which leads to plenty of group activities which are arranged throughout the year. Last year saw camping trips, Christmas parties and a sponsored walk in Delamere Forest.
These events are a great way to introduce new foster carers to the community. Whether you have been approved for 30 days or 30 years, you are made to feel welcome.
Buddy and mentoring
We also encourage all our experienced foster carers to gain national qualifications in mentoring which provides them with skills that can be applied when participating in our buddy scheme.
We find that the when new and experienced foster carers are brought together through this scheme, long lasting friendships are often formed. The foster carers will also organise activities between their respective families – they may go to the beach or on a picnic – which is fantastic.
* It is not uncommon for foster carers to worry about being left all alone when they are approved. That is not the case with Perpetual Fostering. If you would like to know more about the support we provide to our fostering community please get in touch with our fostering team and find out more.