Typically, there are a significant number of myths surrounding what makes a good foster carer. In reality, there is no single foster carer identikit. Foster carers are in great need, from a range of backgrounds, with a variety of experience and skills.
The different nature and attributes of individual foster carers enable us to offer the right home environment to a diverse range of children. Children in care looking for foster placements are hugely diverse, and they come from a myriad of different backgrounds. They range from babies to near adults. They can be part of a sibling group, or not. They may have disabilities or special educational needs. These are just a few of the differences presented in the children. They all need their own unique home setting.
There are also a range of different types of foster care. Fostering can be short-term (or respite), longer term or even permanent. It can be emergency or interim.
Nonetheless, the myths persist, and individuals can discount themselves from becoming foster carers precisely because of the myths. Therefore, let’s look at the actual requirements you need to become a foster carer in Scotland and dispel the myths.
Requirements for Foster Caring in Scotland
Through the approval process you may be approved for a certain type of fostering, for example, short-term only. The assessment looks more thoroughly at your suitability for fostering. However, to scale the first rung of the ladder you will need to meet basic eligibility requirements:
- You must be a UK citizen or a full-time resident in the UK.
- You must be over 18, with some agencies requesting that you are over 21.
This really is it, the basic eligibility criteria for becoming a foster carer.
However, experienced and professional agencies, such as FCA Scotland, usually have additional eligibility criteria they require prospective carers to meet.
For example, at the FCA Scotland, we have the following eligibility criteria:
- You have a suitable spare room within your home for the foster child.
- You are available to dedicate yourself to being a full-time foster carer (viewing it as a career in its own right).
- You have experience working with or caring for children (this may be your own child).
Let’s take a look at the myths which surrounding fostering eligibility criteria.
You can be single, married, divorced, cohabiting, or in a relationship to foster. Your relationship status does not affect eligibility, but all close and household relationships are assessed as part of your suitability to foster.
Your sexuality and gender are not important, and you do not need to be a parent already. The more experience you have of caring for and working with children, the stronger your resource base for caring for a range of different foster children. However, you should always choose an agency who offers a high level of training.
Your age doesn’t matter, as long as you are over the minimum age. There is no upper age limit to becoming a foster carer.
Are You Ready to Find Out More?
If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can make a real tangible difference in the lives of children. Get in touch with your local fostering agency, such as FCA Scotland today for more information!