Why Fostering Is a Rewarding Career Choice

For those people considering fostering, becoming a foster carer is an amazing career choice unlike any other.

Fostering is not only a rewarding career, but for many it is a vocation, which requires commitment and compassion with the children and young people being cared for.  The child or young person will live with you as part of your family and will hugely benefit from the care and support you and other family members give them.

Like with any career, there will be challenges, and as a foster carer, you will be a crucial part of a young person’s life. Your role as a foster carer will be an incredibly important one, as you will be a key part of the professional team supporting the child or young person in your care.

But what does a career in fostering look like…

Why Fostering Is a Rewarding Career Choice

The Foster Care System Explained

In the UK, every foster carer must be registered with, and approved by, a fostering provider.

This can be a Local Authority, or an independent provider – such as Swiis Foster Care.  However, it is important to understand that foster carers may only be registered with one provider at any given time.

There are some differences in registering with a Local Authority or an independent fostering provider, however whoever you register with you will need to undertake a fostering assessment to become a foster carer.

People new to fostering will most likely benefit from registering with an independent fostering provider as they often offer much greater training and professional support, including access to health, education and behavior specialists.  Many independent fostering providers also provide a foster carer mentor for new foster carers to help with the transition to their new career.

Ultimately, your choice of fostering providers will be associated with your fostering decisions and preferences and what works for your own individual circumstances.

Why Fostering Is a Rewarding Career Choice

Starting Your Fostering Journey

You may believe from different sources that the journey to become a foster carer is a long one. In some cases, this is true…but not at Swiis.

Swiis have created a ‘fast track’ application process for those people who wish to become foster carers quicker, or for those carers wishing to transfer to a different fostering provider.

The ‘fast track’ application process ensures our applicants can start their fostering journey with Swiis within two months of the assessment commencing.  To do this we would need the support of the applicant (or transferring foster carer) to be available for the required meetings and sharing of relevant documentation to ensure we are able to meet the ‘fast-track’ timescale.

Foster Care Careers: Training & Professional Development

The ultimate priority of Swiis Foster Care is to protect the wellbeing of both the children, and their carers, therefore the journey to become a registered foster carer includes several rigorous checks and four days of pre-approval training which includes managing Challenging Behavior.

Once you are approved, you will then complete a core mandatory training programme. This covers the below courses:

Mandatory core courses (to be completed within first twelve months of approval and refreshed thereafter):

  • Basic First Aid (annual)
  • Child Protection and Safeguarding (annual)
  • Challenging Behaviour MAPA Foundation (annual)
  • Medication (annual)
  • Culture Diversity and Equality Awareness (3 yearly)
  • Safer Care and Managing Allegations (3 yearly)
  • Understanding attachment (3 yearly)
  • Child Development (3 yearly)
  • Child Sexual Exploitation (3 yearly) (for North East Carers only)
  • Life Story Work (once – for North East Carers only)
  • We also provide additional specialist training to support foster carers who work with or have a desire to support, challenging placements, placements with complex health needs, disability placements or specialist parent and child placements.

We also provide additional specialist training to support foster carers who work with or have a desire to support, challenging placements, placements with complex health needs, disability placements or specialist parent and child placements.

The Roles and Responsibilities of Foster Carers

The role of a foster carer requires a diverse set of skills and qualities to help care for a child or young person in placement.

As a foster carer, your responsibilities will include:

Providing Daily Support: Foster carers support the education, health, and social well-being of the child, or children in their care. They work as part of the professional team who support the child in placement.

Administrative Duties: Along with daily care, foster carers attend meetings, maintain records, and manage sensitive information to aid in the planning for the children or child’s future.

Managing Behaviors: Children may display challenging behaviors stemming from trauma. Foster carers will be trained to recognize potential causes and employ strategies to help the child process emotions.

Facilitating Contact: If requested by the referring Local Authority, a carer will be required to help maintain contact with the birth family of a child, or children. If this should happen, the carer must facilitate all communication, regardless of their own personal feelings, and ensure that the birth family remains a part of the child’s life.

Relationship Building: Effective communication skills are required to collaborate with social workers, families, and other parties involved in the child’s welfare.

Time Commitment: Caring for a fostered child requires significant time and energy to invest in meeting their needs. The placement type considered for the foster carer will depend on the carer’s capacity and daily availability.

Commitment to Training: Foster carers undergo initial and ongoing training to build and maintain the requisite skills for providing care.

Being a team player: Foster carers operate as part of an interconnected network of professionals focused on helping children cope with adversity.

Fostering Allowance Explained

The ‘exact amount’ of how much a foster carer will get paid, will vary depending on the placement itself.

With Swiis, one foster child we will pay up to £520 per-week. This can increase up to £847 per-week should that one child have additional needs. For two siblings, the foster allowance can be up to £833 per-week. For two unrelated children, this increases to up to £1,006 per-week.

The allowance can also vary based on the referring Local Authority and the age of the child, young person or young people in your care.

It is incredibly important to us that our foster carers are rewarded for their hard work. Which is why, irrespective of placement type, our fees are amongst the highest in the UK.

All foster carers must register as self-employed and therefore must register to pay National Insurance contributions. Though you will be technically self-employed, foster carers are usually exempt from paying tax on their foster allowance. This is because of a tax benefit known as ‘Qualifying Care Relief.’

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer but would like to understand more about the fostering allowance, we have created an online Pay and Allowance Calculator.

Foster carer vs foster parent – what is the difference?

Is Fostering the Right Career Choice for Me?

If you started reading this article with the belief that fostering is not a ‘rewarding’ career’ then hopefully the above information has changed your mind.

Fostering can be challenging at times and significant commitment is required from our foster carers due to the important role they play in shaping the lives of children and young people in their care. To help our foster carers succeed, Swiis offer unrivalled support with a dedicated social worker, resource workers and education and health advisors to help support you 24/7 year-round.

Choosing fostering as a career is a major, life-changing decision. Our carers would attest to how fostering and being part of the foster care system, has enriched their lives. There are very few vocations where you can have such a positive impact on the lives of young people.

It is only natural that you would have lots of questions or possible concerns, particularly if you are considering fostering as a career for the first time. Many people ask if fostering will impact negatively on their own family. Often birth children have proven to be helpful in helping the fostered child settle into a new home as they have someone nearer their age they can relate to. It is important that when considering fostering that you discuss this with the entire family and ensure everyone agrees with your decision.

If you think you are ready to become a foster carer, remember you will need to have a spare room for every child you look after, be over the age of 21, have either British Citizenship or indefinite leave to remain, be medical fit to work, and the ability and commitment to offer a child or young person the stability and security they need, at a critical stage in their lives.  You can contact our dedicated Foster Care Recruitment team to ask any other questions or discuss next steps.

If you think you are ready to become a foster carer, or would like to discuss fostering with one of our team, then we want to hear from you.

To find out more about becoming a foster carer with Swiis Foster Care, enquire now here or call us on 0333 577 1234.

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