Posted: Thursday 11th May 2017
Hertfordshire County Council is supporting this year’s Foster Care Fortnight (8-21 May) campaign to help raise awareness about how the dedication and commitment of foster carer’s helps to transform lives.
Hertfordshire is celebrating recruiting and approving 54 new foster carers during 2016, who have come from all walks of life, but our need to recruit more foster carers continues to grow. Hertfordshire particularly needs those who can care for older children (10+), teens, groups of brothers and sisters and children with additional needs.
Fostering can be challenging but also immensely rewarding for carers. It is a wonderful way to contribute to your local community, by giving a child hope for a better future. We want to hear from you if you have a spare bedroom and the passion to inspire children and young people to reach their full potential.
Often, myths surrounding fostering discourage potential carers from considering it. We host information events to give you a chance to find out more and talk to people who have lots of useful information. We would urge those who are interested in fostering not to discount themselves because of marital status, sexuality, employment status or because they are not a home owner. All of our foster carers receive training and support, as well as a dedicated supervising social worker.
The top ten fostering myths:
- You have to be married or in a relationship to foster – a person’s relationship status isn’t important so long as you can provide a suitable and loving home for a foster child. We appreciate how the composition of the modern family can vary, and there are many single-parent happy homes.
- You cannot afford to foster – as a foster carer with Hertfordshire County Council, you’d receive weekly payments, paid holiday allowance, generous tax allowances. Our support network is designed so anyone committed and willing can afford to foster a child.
- You have to own your home to foster – foster carers need to offer a safe and supportive environment for a foster child. Whether you have a mortgage or rent is not important. As long as you can also offer a child or young person their own bedroom, then you are able to foster.
- You cannot foster because you have a disability – Every new foster carer will go through a series of checks and assessments on registering their interest, during which, any disability will be discussed. If you’re capable of taking care of a child and offering a caring home then your disability will not get in the way of you fostering.
- You always have to give up your job to become a foster carer – although very young children or children with specific needs may require greater attention, you do not necessarily need to give up your job to foster a child. It may be that you have a partner and work different hours to cover a full day, or you choose to foster a child of school age and work around this. Your job needn’t be a barrier to fostering.
- You cannot foster if you are unemployed – you can still foster if you are claiming benefits or in-between work. Again, what matters is you can provide a stable and caring environment for a foster child or young person.
- You cannot foster if you have a criminal record – a police check for everyone over 18 in a household is compulsory during the initial checking process. Offences against a child would rule a person out However, having a criminal record doesn’t in itself disallow you from fostering.
- Single male carers cannot foster – men are able to foster and can bring a broad range of skills to the role of a foster carer, including presenting a positive role model.
- Gay and lesbian carers cannot foster – your sexual orientation doesn’t affect your ability to foster. As before, providing a safe and caring environment is the most important thing. Just as there is diversity in the children in foster care, it is necessary to have diversity in the foster carer community.
- You have to have had your own children to be able to foster – during the checking process we will ascertain whether you’ve had enough experience around children to foster, but this can come from helping to look after siblings or friends’ children, or looking after children through work. There are many ways to show your suitability and you do not necessarily have to have had children of your own.
Come and talk to us and find out more about fostering for Hertfordshire. Please call us on 0800 917 0925 or visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/fostering
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