Can You Work and Be a Foster Parent in the UK?
Unfortunately, the reality about working and becoming a foster carer isn’t always straightforward.
There are no hard and fast rules, however it is possible to continue working and be a foster carer. Many of our foster carers chose to foster full time, while others continue working part time alongside fostering.
Regardless, there are some important things to consider when it comes to fostering and working.
Children in foster care often come from unstable backgrounds. They may have experienced abuse or neglect, which can impact their development. For many foster children, their experiences can lead to them developing a range of issues, like attachment issues or challenging behaviour.
At Compass, we believe that opportunity to provide a child with the safety and stability they deserve is one of the greatest joys of becoming a foster carer. However, to do this, you must be able to provide consistent care.
If you’re wondering, ‘can you work and be a foster parent?’, we ask that you first consider our children’s wellbeing above all else.
To give foster children the best chance, young children can’t be in full-time day-care. Similarly, school-aged children shouldn’t spend their morning and afternoons in preschool and after school care.
There are exceptions, of course, such as older children who are in homework clubs or sports. It all depends on what’s appropriate for the child.
A foster carer’s ability to meet the needs of a foster child is considered during the assessment process. Our family finding team will work with you to find the best solution for your family, but it’s important to consider your availability first.
When people ask, ‘can I work and be a foster parent?’, they often don’t realise how fulfilling and in-depth the career of a foster carer can be.
But can being a foster parent be a job within its own right?
Fostering is a career path many people follow, and it is usually a full-time role, with foster carers considered self-employed. Choosing fostering as a career opens many doors, especially if you are looking for a career where you can directly influence and change children’s lives for the better.
Being a foster carer is also a lifestyle and that will change everything– not just for foster children, but for their foster carers and their foster families too.
So, can you be a foster carer and work? Yes – but, before starting your fostering journey, it is vital you understand the commitment and dedication this role needs.
The children that will be in your care need your utmost love and attention, so whilst it can be possible to work and foster, most of our foster carers dedicate all their time to fostering.
If you’re asking, ‘can I work and be a foster carer?’ then know that having some flexibility in your work is essential.
Foster carers need to be able to drop their child off at school in the morning and be there to pick them at the end of the school day. They need to be able to stay home if their child is ill and accommodate weekends and school holidays.
That need for flexibility is the main reason why it’s very difficult to be a foster parent and work full time. However, there are exceptions!
Some workplaces are adaptable enough to offer carers a flexible schedule, such as freelancers and contractors who make their own working hours or work from home, and can change plans at short notice. Other carers have readily available support networks that can step in when needed, like actively involved parents who live nearby.
Often fostering and working part time can be a good middle ground, providing that the working hours can be flexible. Working part time is especially well suited to respite fostering or short term fostering, as the periods that a child is staying with you will be shorter.
Ultimately, working full time and fostering can be tricky, but if you have the right support network in place, this can be a lot easier.
If you join the Compass Fostering family, it’s important to consider your situation carefully to figure out how you’d meet the needs of your foster child. If you’re asking yourself ‘can I foster if I work full time?’ we suggest you plan for any inevitable situations that may arise.
Review plans for school pick up and drop off and figure out how your child will be looked after when they’re ill or off school. Identify your support network and have clear contingency plans in place.
All these concerns will be covered in your assessment, so it’s best to have an idea of how you’d manage them ahead of time.
At Compass Fostering, we support our carers financially with a fostering allowance and benefits. In fact, many of our carers foster full time thanks to our allowance, which covers the costs of looking after a child as well as a professional fostering fee, and generous tax breaks.
We also support foster parents professionally by giving carers the opportunity to build careers in fostering. Our high-quality training equips our foster carers with all the knowledge and skills they need to really make a difference to children’s lives.
Every foster parent’s situation is different, and every foster child’s needs are unique. Some foster carers work, while many others don’t. No matter your situation, our recruitment and family finding teams will always consider what’s best for each individual child and each foster family.
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