What is an ideal foster carer?
At Perpetual Fostering, we observe and relate to many things that play on the mind of potential recruits. Time and time again, one of the most-asked questions on the minds of potential foster carers is: “who is best suited to being a foster carer?”. And each time, we reassure everyone: that “there is no such thing as a stereotypical foster carer”.
As outlined in the recent 2015 Ofsted report, we are an agency “underpinned by high-quality care built upon stable and successful placements” and we aim for a community of foster carers that is as diverse and vibrant as the children who benefit from our provision of care. Read on to find out what is – and what isn’t – important to us as we apply our robust recruitment process.
For foster children of ethnic and minority backgrounds, a diverse community of carers is especially important. As much as possible, these foster children benefit massively from inspiring individuals who reflect their own upbringing and heritage.
Here’s an apt example. Denise Lewis wrote recently in the Guardian: “black children in care must be empowered to become confident adults, and identity and culture are an important part of this”. Whilst we wholly agree, we also need to emphasise how this is relevant for children from all communities across the UK.
Potential foster carers certainly don’t need to be married! In fact, we’d like to emphasise how positive and educational it can be for foster children to experience a range of lifestyles and backgrounds. If they can see that successful, strong people lead their lives in all sorts of ways, that can only be a positive learning experience for them going forwards.
For such a fundamental feature of each and every one of us, gender is one of the least important characteristics when it comes to fostering eligibility. Yet when asked about it, most in the UK are under the impression that a single male isn’t suitable for fostering. We’re keen to reassure our community that the opposite is the truth, and have worked with countless male foster carers over the years.
We hope the above points help to outline the possibility that fostering offers.
Above all, the following details are – alongside sound attitude and judgement – the most important attributes of exceptional carers:
- the ability to provide a stable environment
- being a tireless, genuine champion of the interests of foster children
- acting consistently as a ‘team player’ with everyone involved in the process
Diversity and awareness are important to us as an independent fostering agency: please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to share your opinion, or if you think we’ve missed anything out. We also encourage you to read the Ofsted report in full for yourself.