Can single people become foster carers?
Can single people become foster carers?
Can single people really become foster carers? If you are a single person who’s interested in becoming a foster carer, you probably have lots of questions about what it’s like and whether you’re even eligible.
As a private foster care agency operating in south and east London, we get these questions all the time. So, if you’re looking for answers, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s what you need to know.
Do single people have any impediment to becoming a foster carer?
Absolutely not! In fact, many of our carers across London are single people, doing a great job fostering young people.
If we’re thinking about what offers safety and security for a young person, that doesn’t need to come from two people; it needs to come from at least one person.
Obviously, single carers may face a few extra challenges — just as single parents face some extra challenges.
What sorts of special considerations do single people need to think about before becoming a foster carer?
Being a single carer means you’ve got half as many arms and legs as a couple who foster has, to chase around after a young person.
So, the sorts of things you need to consider are:
- How am I going to manage the school runs?
- How am I going to manage when my young person is sick and I need to be home for them?
- How am I going to get my young person to their after-school club, medical appointments, therapeutic appointments, and so on?
This is where your support network comes in. During the foster care assessment process you’ll be asked whom among your family and friends you can rely on as a support network.
We’ll meet these people and get them involved in the fostering assessment process, so everyone will know how best they can support you in your fostering experience.
When you’re a LiKa foster carer we want you to feel fully supported by both us — through excellent training and 24/7 on-call advice — and by the people around you.
What happens if I meet someone and start dating?
We don’t expect you to put your personal life on hold because you’ve become a foster carer! If you meet someone special, we’re going to be thrilled for you. It’s something that happens all the time.
Obviously, as a foster carer there are some special considerations. You have to think about your relationship with your young person, too. And there are some sensible precautions to take — for example, not talking in depth about your young person or your relationship with them during the early stages of getting to know someone.
When you first start dating you’re probably not going to invite that person into you house straightaway. You’ll want to get to know and trust that person first (even if you weren’t a foster carer). But as things get more serious and you want them to come into your home, then you need to notify your foster care agency.
At that point, we’ll excitedly share our congratulations and we’ll have a conversation with you about the relationship and where you see it going, and we’ll discuss the important safeguarding matters we, as your foster care agency, have to handle.
We’ll also talk to your young person and their social worker and put everyone in the picture.
If you want your new partner to come to the house, we may need to complete a risk assessment, which will usually involve a conversation to find out a little bit about them and a police background check. As you’ll understand, this is a standard procedure designed to safeguard the child.
If things go really well and your new partner wants to move in, they’ll need to be included in your fostering assessment.
What’s it actually like being a single foster carer?
We have lots of single carers, and the experience is probably as diverse as the carers and the young people themselves.
Most often it is one carer and one child, but we do have a couple of single carers who are looking after two young children. In that case, having a support network around her is really important. We’ve had a lot of communication with the support network over time, including getting them some training to help ensure the care is consistent.
Can you be a single foster carer with a full-time job?
You absolutely can, but we’ll ask you an obvious question: “How will you manage it?”
We’ll have a conversation with you about your support network and how available your family and friends will be, and discuss some ideas and strategies for creating a fantastic foster care experience for both you and your young person, while you’re working full-time.
What happens if I get sick?
This is a question single parents have to think about all the time, which single foster carers also face.
The first port of call would be looking within your support network and seeing who could look after the young person for a period of time. They’ll be someone who has been assessed by us as being a good support for you in just such a situation.
Outside of that, we might look at respite care or ask another carer within the LiKa foster care agency family if they are able to step in and help.
Live in London and want to become a foster carer?
If you’re in south or east London and you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, give the helpful team at LiKa a call on 020 8667 2111. We’re here to answer all your questions.
We’re in the London boroughs of Croydon, Sutton, Bromley, Lambeth, Wandsworth, Lewisham, Southwark, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Redbridge, and Barking and Dagenham.