Fostering myths

Think you can’t foster? You’d be surprised!

Often people will rule themselves out of becoming foster carers as they feel there may be a barrier to them fostering. But many of those myths are just that, myths. And they're usually not true. There are also many misconceptions about fostering, so to help bust those myths, we’ve come up with the most common misconceptions about who can and can’t foster.

Myth: I’m a single person so I can’t foster

False! You do not need to be in a partnership to foster, we have single women and men who foster. As with anyone else who enquires about fostering, we’ll ask you about the people around you and who may be able to help you to foster. We also have a great network of foster carers who are ready to provide advice, guidance and support who live across Bedfordshire.

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Myth: I don’t own my own home so I can’t foster

False! You do not need to own your home to foster but children in Central Bedfordshire do need people who can give them a safe and secure home. That’s why we ask that if you rent your property that you have a secure tenancy for at least two years. We’ll also just need to get in touch with your landlord to check they are happy for you to foster.

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Myth: I don't have children of my own so I can’t foster

False! We have many foster carers who do not have children of their own. You might have experience in other ways such as through work or spending time and caring for family members or friends’ children. If you have the skills to care for a young person, we’d love to hear from you.

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Myth: I have children of my own so I can’t foster

False! We have many fostering families where their children are living at home. We find that foster carers' children love being an active member of a fostering family and even go on to become foster carers themselves or work with children in need. You’ll also have some great experience from bringing up your own children that will be valuable to you as a foster carer. You will need to have a spare room and we’ll talk to you and your family about the ages of children that it may be best to you foster. As your children grow up, we can look at the possibility of expanding that age range or change it to suit your family.

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Myth: I work, so I can’t foster

False! It depends on the type of fostering you would like to do and your current work commitments. We’ll have a chat with you about your current circumstances and see if there is a type of fostering that suits you and your lifestyle. One option is respite, where foster carers provide short breaks to children. If your situation changes and you decide to reduce your hours or give up work you can ask to review the type of fostering you do.

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Myth: I’m well into retirement now, so might not be eligible to foster

False! Most people aren’t aware that there is no upper age limit to foster. If you are fit, healthy and have the energy to care for a young person we’d love to hear from you.

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Myth: I’m in my twenties, so probably too young to foster

False! If you are over 21 years of age and have experience of parenting or other ways e.g. through work or spending time and caring for family members or friends’ children, we’d love to hear from you.

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Myth: I’m not sure if being part of the LGBTQ community will be a barrier to me being a foster carer

False! We would love to hear from members of the LGBTQ community who would like to find out more about fostering. If you could provide a loving and safe home to a child, give us a call, we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and support you on your fostering journey.

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Myth: The council doesn’t provide the same level of support as the local independent agencies

False! Our foster carers are so important to us and we want to make sure they are fully supported to look after the children in their care. We hold events and social groups across Bedfordshire and also have a comprehensive training programme which is held during the day, evenings and weekends and includes access to online training.

You’ll never be alone – there is always someone available at the end of the phone during (and out of) office hours. 

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Myth: I’m worried about the cost of caring for another child so I’m not sure I can afford to foster

False! We know that there will be extra household costs when you care for another child, so we provide foster carers with an allowance for each child you care for and also pay a foster carers' fee. We will ask you about your finances (just to make sure that you will be a secure carer for a child) and you’ll need to consider if you can afford to foster during times that you may not have a child placed with you, as the allowances are payable when you have a child living with you.

Our allowances and fees are very competitive, so if you are fostering for an independent agency and are considering transferring, feel free to give us a call to discuss.

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Myth: I have a disability so I can’t foster

False! This depends on the type of disability that you have. Part of our initial discussions when you enquire to foster will look at your health and wellbeing, so we can chat with you about your disability and if you might be suitable to foster. If you decide to apply to become a foster carer, we will need to complete a medical through your doctor. If you think you can provide a safe, loving home to a child, give us a call and we’d be happy to discuss which type of fostering may be suitable for you.

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Myth: I have dogs and other pets, so can’t foster

False! Animals can be very therapeutic and can help children to settle in their fostering homes. It will depend on the type of animal/s you have, the number you have and how they are kept in or around your home. We can have a chat with you about it and then if you decide to take your enquiry further, we’ll carry out a pet assessment to make sure it’s a safe environment for children.

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Myths busted!

We hope that this information has helped break down some of those barriers and worries that some people may have about fostering. We have a really friendly and knowledgeable team who are happy to talk to anyone considering fostering. Your first call will be an informal chat, you can ask for info only or have a more in depth chat with someone about anything that you like.

Any questions?

If you would like further information, please call us on 0300 300 8181 or email fostering@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.