that have both adopted and foster,
I am honored to share this guest post with my readers.
ostering a child is an incredibly important thing to get involved with. At any point in time, there are roughly 62,000 different children living with a foster family, and that’s in the United Kingdom alone. Sadly, the number of foster parents needed is much greater than how many are currently available in this country: the UK Fostering Network has estimated that we need a further 9000 foster carers this year.
What Exactly Is Foster Care?
To put it simply, fostering is a type of social care service, where an adult (or a couple) cares for someone else’s child or children in their home. It’s sort of like a temporary adoption, though some children are permanently fostered.
It can be challenging, but you only need to take a look online to see what a rewarding service it can be, for both parties. If you choose to become a foster parent, you will receive a lot of support, both in terms of personal help from social workers to financial aid from the Government; you won’t be alone in your decision.
You’ll need time, patience, and dedication to be a foster carer, but you can make a huge difference to a child’s life.
What Financial Help Will You Receive?
Every foster carer receives a set allowance from the Government to help them cover costs, and to reward them for providing such a necessary service. This allowance changes in amount every April, but the current rates are as follows:
If you live in London, you will receive, each week, £135 for fostering a baby, £138 for a child of pre-primary school age, £148 for a primary school child, £174 for a child between 11 and 15, or £205 if they’re 16 or 17. The rates decrease slightly if you’re living in the South East, and drop a little more if you live elsewhere in the UK.
The rates are set to increase again next year. You can receive more if the child has certain needs or if you have particular skills.
You will also benefit from a £10,000 tax exemption – you don’t have to pay any tax on the first £10,000 you get from fostering. You also get some tax relief, meaning that for each week the child is in your care, you have to pay less tax.
How Do You Become A Foster Parent?
This is the most commonly asked question, so we’re going to explain how to get started with fostering.
First off, you should visit the BAAF website (http://www.baaf.org.uk/) to glean some useful information, before finding and contacting your local fostering agency. A simple Google search should give you the results you’re after.
Talk to a few different agencies and choose the one you like best. They will ask questions about you and your home life, and ask if you have any particular preferences when it comes to the age, gender, ethnicity and ability of your potential foster child.
After this, you’ll meet with a social worker, and you’ll find out whether or not you’re deemed suitable. Then you’ll fill in the official application form, and you’ll be properly assessed. This can take some time, but the agency should keep you informed along the way.
That’s all there is to it – you’ll find out sooner or later whether there’s a child waiting for you!
David is an advocate of fostering and adoption and believes more awareness should be made