There are many reasons why people become foster carers, ranging from wanting to ‘give something back’, through to ‘enhancing their family life experiences’. However, there are some very clear reasons that are not ideal bases for wanting to become a foster carer:
1) For the money – foster care is a 24/7, 365 days per year job and whatever foster carer allowance is paid would need to be calculated across this time frame! This is not a role one can do purely for the money…it is a vocation and a lifestyle choice.
2) To acquire a larger property – if a foster carer is in rented accommodation, they would need to already live in a large enough property, with at least one spare room, in order to be considered for foster carer assessment.
3) As company for birth child/children – this is not a problem per say ….because this may be a wonderful by-product of fostering children and young people…but it is not a wise motivational factor, as it is not guaranteed. A child or young person who is looked after may not be socially skilled and may need lots of time and attention invested in them before they are comfortably situated within your family unit.
4) To make up for losses in own life – Chrysalis Care assess foster carers to ensure that they reflect upon their life experiences, including any losses, so that they are able to nurture and support children and young people in their care. Therefore, experiences of loss do not preclude someone from fostering but meeting their own needs related to loss, is not an ideal motivation to foster.
5) To adopt a child – fostering and adoption are two separate choices and although some Chrysalis Care foster carers have gone on to successfully adopt a child in their care, it should not be the reason for fostering in the first place. Potential foster carers need to be aware from the outset, that fostering is an opportunity to offer a child or young person some stability on a short or long term basis and is not a route to adoption.