Fostering is a life-changing commitment which people enter into for lots of different reasons. It is not something to go into lightly, but you can make preparations without necessarily committing to the process. Whether you are considering entering into fostering in the immediate future or have vague plans to one day make the commitment, here are some personal preparations to consider.
Gaining experience in dealing with children from a variety of backgrounds will enable you to learn a lot about yourself. Visit a local children’s home and see if they have any volunteer positions. You could also visit a foster agency near you or enquire at your local authority to see if they have any opportunities.
Offer to baby-sit for foster families
Getting to know and baby-sitting for a family who are having the foster care experience will give you valuable first-hand experience. Such a relationship will also allow you to ask questions and share in the trials and tribulations of a foster family.
Whereas lots of agencies provide training as part of the fostering process, it is often worth getting trained in some of the basic elements of child care, child development and parenting. There are various training providers to look into to see what kind of course appeals to you.
Get your career on track
It is important to have steady, reliable employment when you are fostering therefore it is good to think about your future work life when considering fostering. Ask yourself if you are happy and comfortable in your job and whether it is likely to have enough prospects to support a dependent in the future.
Read up on fostering
There are lots of internet resources to read up on fostering plus magazines and books. Blogs such as Capstone Foster Care’s blog can also give valuable advice on issues around foster care.
Ensure your home is foster-ready
While the size of your home may not be make-or-break when it comes to fostering you need to make sure there is enough room for another inhabitant or look to move to somewhere bigger. You should consider all the other people living in the apartment or house and imagine what the living conditions will be when another person is added.
Have you the right transport?
This is also not the most important of factors but it certainly should be a consideration. Depending on the public transport provision where you live you may need to think about your car and whether it is suitable for a small child to ride in.
Having considered these factors you may decide fostering is not for you or you may become energised to foster sooner than you thought you wanted to. The further in advance you prepare the more equipped you will be to make the right decision for you and your family.