At Fostering Relations we often notice that many people wrongly assume that their age will discount them from becoming an approved foster carer. In fact, there is only a lower legal age to foster – which is 21.
In a recent survey over 50% of 45-54 year olds thought their age would rule them out from becoming foster carers. The reality is that these people are ideally situated to become foster carers, having gained a lot of life experience and potentially having more time on their hands due to less financial or family pressures.
One of our foster carers who has been with Fostering Relations for 10 years, thought about fostering for over 5 years before actually applying, citing her worry she was too old to foster as the main barrier. She was 64 when she was approved as a foster carer and states her main reason for fostering as “I wanted to make good use of my spare time, and provide a service to vulnerable children”. 10 years on, she has fostered children of all ages, from newborn babies to teenagers and says she thoroughly enjoys every minute “It’s challenging but rewarding and if I can do it, so can anyone else”.
Another foster carer who came to Fostering Relations later in life is was approved when she was 68. “I felt the time was right for me after caring for my children and my husband, although I had wanted to foster for nearly 30 years”. The right timing is one of the most important aspects when assessing foster carers, as the fostering panel need to see that you can provide a stable home and family life for any child.
Trying to look after a child or young person who may have additional needs, whilst having lots of personal issues to resolve is almost impossible. “It’s a hard but rewarding vocation” adds Rita, “I do have a lot of fun and it makes me happy to be helping a child or young person”.
Fostering presents many challenges to a family, however having the time, physical space by way of a spare bedroom and motivation are some of the key elements. If you are considering becoming a foster carer and would like to work with Fostering Relations, an organisation that values experience, insight and mentoring its carers, simply contact us on 01383 828 245.