I have become an active participant at recruitment events since working with Calon Cymru Fostering. I have been an approved carer since 2016 and it still shocks me the questions I am asked from people who have thought about fostering but sadly believe the myths.
I’d like to address some of these myths here today. It is estimated that in Wales alone we need a further 550 foster care homes. This number is expected to rise within the next 12months.
Myth 1 -Can gay couples foster?
Whatever your sexual preference, it won’t hinder the way you care for a child. Children need an emotionally strong, loving role models who have stickability and help provide a safe and secure home. A gay person has a story to tell, they have experience and have been challenged in ways straight couples can’t imagine.
Myth 2 -I can’t if I don’t have £10,000 in savings
Who does? I certainly don’t. What is suggested is that you think of your income. Sometimes you will not have a placement, sometimes a placement will breakdown. How will you manage financially? My circumstances are straightforward – my partner works whilst I’m the main carer. If circumstances change his wage would cover all household bills.
Myth 3 – I can’t if I rent my home
Many families live in rented housing, including Foster families. As with most of the myths, we need you to prove you have a big heart. The size of the spare bedroom is not essential, the warmth and safety that the room provides is.
Myth 4- I can’t if I have my own children
This myth is probably the one I struggle with the most. I have had the privilege of talking to some wonderful prospective foster carers who have maternal young children. I always advise current timing with very young children may not be ideal. Your children have to be a priority. They need the attention of mum and dad. I suggest they keep in touch, and when the little ones are older and in full-time school, then start the application process. It’s important to keep in mind that while not all, but many of the young people in care have experienced trauma, and so their behaviours will reflect this. You know your children best and if you feel they will manage then get in touch. Calon Cymru has lots of training and support in place to help throughout.
As with all roles, there are people around us who scaremonger. My advice would be to look at fostering agencies like Calon Cymru Fostering. Get the facts and speak to staff members and foster carers to obtain the truth. We aren’t going to tell you it’s all wonderful and easy because it’s not. What it is, is rewarding. I worked for 20yrs previously in a job I loved but had never experienced job satisfaction the way I do now.
Don’t feel ashamed to ask us any questions. We have heard it all believe me….
*Foster Carer’s name has been changed for privacy reasons.