When you’re considering fostering, it can be easy to question whether it’s the right step for you. You might wonder about how factors like your age, your household circumstances or your financial situation will affect you; often you might rule yourself out of becoming a foster carer before you’ve even started! While we do have a list of criteria we ask our potential foster carers to consider which help us understand how well you might be able to support the young people we work with, generally we look for carers who come from a wide range of backgrounds to reflect the diversity of the children we support.
Something we’re often asked is if being single will rule you out of becoming a foster carer at Team Fostering, and we’re always happy to confirm that it won’t affect your application at all. You’ll be assessed on the same basis as our carers who are married and in long term relationships, and our recruitment team will support you through this process. When you’re approved to become a foster carer with us, you’ll be eligible for a comprehensive package of support, and your dedicated Supervising Social Worker will ensure that you always have the help you need.
But what about the day-to-day experience? Is it different being a single carer? We asked some of our single Team Fostering carers to talk about what fostering is like for them.
“The most valuable and rewarding thing about being a foster carer is the emotional fulfilment it provides by just loving and nurturing a child and doing what comes naturally to me.” Jean explains, “I am financially better off as a single carer, and at the same time it’s the best job I’ve ever had. It can still be very challenging at times but with the support of my family and the 24-hour support I get from Team Fostering I have managed to get through the difficult times. There are so many more rewarding times.”
Foster carer Craig shares his own, slightly different experience; “Financially it was initially difficult, particularly getting used to being paid fortnightly, but once you become used to that it is okay. Some carers can access benefits too. There are a number you may be eligible for - it’s a good idea to consult with other carers, and the Fostering Network have a good booklet you can purchase.”
He finds life as a single carer extremely valuable though; “The most rewarding thing about being a carer is watching the young people grow and develop and achieve their goals, whatever they may be at whatever stage of their journey.”
Both Craig and Jean have recommendations for other single people considering fostering.
As Craig shares; “As a single carer it’s all about having good routines and boundaries as you don’t have anyone else to deflect attention with. Developing a good relationship with other carers is also key, to be able to ask questions and have a support network. Having time to yourself can be difficult so utilising your support network is key - help your child or young person to develop relationships with people in your network to ensure they feel comfortable and settled to stay with them while you have a break. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice about anything.”
Jean adds: “It’s helpful to reflect when things are not going well and have a reality check by putting yourself in the child’s shoes.”
Here at Team Fostering, we ensure that our single carers stay closely connected with us at the agency, but we also encourage our carers to develop connections with other carers, developing both practical and emotional support networks. Financially, our competitive fees and allowances ensure that our carers can support themselves and the children placed with them to the best of their ability. Our 24/7 support package is available to all carers who foster with us and can be used as much as is needed – we’ll always be there to help you.
If you’re single and thinking about fostering with us, take the first step on your journey by giving us a call on 0800 2929 2003, or live chat with us here on the Team Fostering website.
If the comments from our carers above have caught your attention, many of our single foster carers are happy to speak with prospective carers about the fostering role, our agency and how they find fostering. If you'd like to arrange an informal discussion with someone, just get in touch and let us know.