Fostering a child is a huge life decision that should never be taken lightly. One of the key questions you need to ask yourself before applying is whether now is the right time. Even with the best of intentions, if the timing isn’t right, you could end up doing more harm than good if you open up your home to a vulnerable child.
Why is timing important?
Children entering the foster system are typically vulnerable and scared. It is vital therefore, that they are placed into loving, secure and understanding homes. The home environment they are placed into needs to be stable. So if the timing is wrong, it could end up having a negative impact on the child.
The question is, how do you know if this is the right time to foster? The following factors will help to determine whether or not you’re in a good place to open your home to a child:
These are just some of the factors that determine if you’re in the right place to become a foster parent. As featured on Take Part, fostering a child is a massive commitment that requires a lot of time and dedication that’s going to be put into training, as well as looking after the children placed into your care. So if you have a pretty hectic life with little time left over, fostering a child right now wouldn’t be an ideal option.
Being in a good place emotionally is equally important. It’s logical to think if you’re unhappy, adding a child in the home would make everything better. The same way couples feel a baby might fix problems within their marriage, it’s easy to think a child will solve emotional issues. However, this is rarely the case. You also need to factor in that foster children have often come from broken, unhappy homes. Therefore, they absolutely need to be placed into a happy, loving environment. So if your reasons for fostering are based around a feeling that it will improve your own happiness, now wouldn’t be the best time to foster.
While all of our carers receive fantastic support, we do feel it’s important for them to have their own network of support too. Is fostering a decision everyone in the family and household is supportive of? If not, you’ll need to spend more time discussing it and determining whether it’s the best thing for your family.
Finally, some people do sadly decide to become foster parents purely because of the money involved. You do receive a fostering allowance, but this is purely designed to meet the needs and costs of each child. It isn’t a get rich quick solution.
Overall it is important to make sure you’re fostering for the right reasons. You need to be honest with yourself about whether this is really the best time to be fostering a child.