Often people wonder if fostering is deemed as a career. With a competitive fostering allowance, as well as development and progression options available, it’s important to know that fostering is definitely a career.
And by choosing this career path, you have the opportunity to work in a sector which directly changes children and young people’s lives for the better. So why do people choose fostering as a career path?
Why choose a career in foster care?
- Rewarding – fostering a young person or child in need is well-known to be one of the most rewarding careers you can do. By seeing the direct change your care can have on their mental, emotional and social development, you’re likely to find this career choice extremely rewarding.
- Helping your local community – typically, children you foster will be part of your local community, as foster placements are often decided by location. By taking in a young child in need, you are likely helping to benefit your local community too by improving these young people’s lives.
- Financial benefits – a career in foster care comes with a competitive fostering allowance.
Learn more about why you should foster from our helpful guide.
Foster carer personality requirements
When considering whether to start a career in foster care, it’s important to assess whether you have the characteristics and skillset required for being successful in the job. The first port of call when assessing your foster care personality is talking to friends and family – explain that you’re interested in becoming a foster carer and see what their thoughts are. These are the people that know you best and will be able to determine whether your personality traits match those required to become a foster parent.
However, Excel Fostering’s experienced opinion on personality requirements for foster care suggests that you should have these core traits:
- Patience – foster care is a full-time job, required both day and night. Having a great deal of unwavering patience is one of the most important qualities potential foster carers should possess. Having the inner strength and resources to be consistently patient throughout placements is a key part of being a successful foster carer.
- Communication – having excellent communication skills is vital to being a foster parent. You must be able to listen to what the child is trying to tell you, and use your emotional intelligence to pick up on body language signs that indicate how the child is feeling about certain things, if they do not communicate verbally easily.
- Compassion – it’s likely that the young people who are in your care are likely to have experienced traumatic experiences in their past, which could have negatively affected their development and behaviour. Having the compassion to understand these issues, and how they have affected the children in care, is integral for building a solid relationship and allowing you the opportunity to build a sanctuary for them.
- Understanding space – there may be enough physical space in your home for a foster child, but you also need to anticipate how much emotional space having a new member of the family will take up. Ensure your existing children or other family members are also on board with this change to their home environment, and understand the ins and outs of the dynamics of your home life before taking in a vulnerable child or young person.
If you believe these skillsets are a natural part of your personality, fostering is likely to be a viable career path for you. However, if these traits do not come naturally – you could still become a foster carer, but it may be that you just need to work on these slightly more so than others.
How to start your career in foster care
To begin your career in foster care, make sure you’ve matched yourself up against the fostering requirements. This includes being over the age of 21, having a spare bedroom in your home and being in good physical and mental health to look after a child. The next step would then be to contact Excel Fostering. Here, we can arrange a telephone consultation with you to determine your eligibility to foster, and consider your fostering options.
Find out more about if you can work and foster from our detailed guide. Alternatively, get in touch with a member of our helpful team to provide more information on fostering as a career.