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  • Red Kite Fostering

14 Reasons Why You Should Foster in 2022

As many of us are aware, there is a high demand for foster carers in the UK. The Fostering Network estimates that at least 8,500 foster families are needed in England and Wales alone to care for children who need safe and nurturing homes.

Foster carers are childcare professionals that work with a wider team to give children the highest standard of care possible whilst they are unable to live with their birth family.

Foster care will present challenges that will likely push you to grow, learn and improve. You will be required to dedicate a large portion of time to the role of a foster carer, as well as being expected to keep the child's best interests in mind at all times and be prepared to make changes in your own life for the benefit of a young person.

With all this considered, the benefits of foster care can be monumental. Fostering presents an opportunity to significantly improve outcomes for children, help them through experiences of neglect, abuse or trauma and offer a valuable experience of positive family life to someone who needs it. Fostering is truly a unique role with high levels of challenge and a great deal of reward.

Red Kite Fostering Blog: 14 Reasons Why You Should Foster

"So, why should I foster?"

If you're still unsure about becoming a foster carer, we hope that we can offer a few reasons to foster to get you thinking:

1. Your children have fled the nest

If you have grown-up children who have left home, fostering could be perfect for you! Your experience raising and caring for children will be invaluable and you'll get to enjoy hearing the sound of little footsteps (or big footsteps!) in your home again.

2. You will be paid for being a foster carer

When it comes to fostering, money is not always the first reason to do it, but we all need a source of income and fostering is a great way to do it. It is a unique role that can fit your skills, interests and lifestyle more than a standard career might - and also gives you the chance to positively impact a foster child's life!

Independent fostering agencies (IFAs) pay more than local authorities, but the precise amount you receive depends upon your existing skills and the child you’re fostering. You can find out more about how fostering fees and allowances work here.

3. Help families stay together

In some cases, it is best for the child to return to their birth family after some time in foster care, where possible, this is typically the goal for lots of families. For parent and child placements, this is especially the case so that the parent can learn to care for their child independently once they move on. Fostering helps families to reunite and get back on the right track.

4. You don't have children and want the experience

If you never had children and want to experience looking after a young person, then fostering could be what you’ve been looking for. There is no requirement to have your own children in order to be a foster carer - all you need is a willingness to learn, persevere and have patience in moments of high stress. We will also support you throughout and involve you in the matching process so that you are never pressured to look after a child if you do not yet have the skills to do so.

5. Improve outcomes for children

Many young people who come from difficult home circumstances may have experienced a number of barriers to their learning and development. This could involve trouble or delays with certain skills like learning to swim, understanding punctuation or learning to tie their shoelaces. It is possible that they didn't have an appropriate environment or care for them to feel comfortable learning new skills or communicating at school. A foster carer is able to nurture children so that they can approach things they never thought they could do - no matter how big or small.

6. Fostering is rewarding

Fostering a child is one of the most rewarding things you can do in your life. Hours of time, effort and patience can become years of lasting, positive difference in a young person's life. No matter what type of foster care you are able to offer, you will have the opportunity to pass on your wisdom and experience where it really matters.

7. There are thousands of children who need a caring home

In the latest Government report, the number of foster carers in England grew by 4% since the 2014/2015 report. However, over the period to March 2020, the number of children in foster care grew by around 11%. This means that more foster carers are urgently needed to provide children with a safe environment that supports their happiness and wellbeing. Looked after children are often scared and confused about what is happening in their lives and need the comfort and security of a loving home whilst they can't live with their birth parents. As a foster carer, you could provide this much-needed support to young [people who need it.

8. Be part of a community

If you choose to foster with us, you will be joining a small and friendly community of foster carers and support workers who you can lean on for support, and chat to about your shared experiences and knowledge. We arrange monthly support groups, half-term family meet-ups and have a private group chat so that you can communicate with your fellow Red Kite foster carers for advice, someone to talk to or to share fun stories with.

9. You are passionate about childcare

For many of us, making a child laugh or smile can make a world of difference, not just for them, but for us too! If the safety, well-being and happiness of children is something you have a passion for, then foster care could be your calling.

10. Receive ongoing training and 24/7 support

As a foster carer with Red Kite, you will never be left to manage alone. Our friendly team will ensure that you have appropriate training and support so you can develop the skills you need to foster a child. We will regularly be in touch with you to ensure that you and your family are well equipped for the role you fulfil and here to help you through any problems you may encounter.

11. Help your community

Young people are the future of every community and you could have a part in helping your local area by preventing homelessness, reducing the risk of criminalisation of young people in care and helping young people find their own place within the community. Some children need patience and guidance to get on the right track, which can be shown to them by their foster carer.

12. Give children a positive experience of family

Some looked after children may not know what a positive family experience is like prior to living with a foster family. Many of us understand the importance of family and upbringing and how they shape who we are today. Young people deserve to have a family that takes time to understand them and help them grow - you could be the right family for them.

13. Learn new skills and grow yourself

Throughout your role as a foster carer, you will constantly be learning. Whether it be from completing training, a placement review after a child has moved on from your care, day-to-day experience or advice from other foster carers. There is always an opportunity to grow and improve so that you are constantly moving forward and improving your ability to provide care for children who need it. Not only that, but you'll also find that you will develop transferable skills like listening, organisation and practising good mental well-being that will help you in other aspects of your life.

14. Give a child security for the first time

Sometimes, looked after children lack a sense of security and require a safe, stable home to allow them to flourish. As a foster carer, you could provide a young person with the comfort of home that they need.

If you are considering fostering, please get in touch with us to find out more about the difference you could make as a foster carer.

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