foster family
While most of us were lucky enough to enjoy living with at least one of our parents whilst growing up, there are many children today who do not have that luxury. For a number of reasons, some parents are unable to properly care for their child. Sometimes children need a permanent home, other times they need a temporary one until the parent is able to care for their child again or an appropriate permanent home is found. When these transitory homes are not provided by other family members, they are provided by the generosity of the local community.

Although there are obvious similarities between adoption and fostering, the main difference is that adoption is a permanent transfer of the parental rights to someone else, whereas foster parents are not replacement parents because it is hoped that the child will be reunited with their biological parents once they are in a more able position to support them.

Foster parents are an important and valuable part of our community.  Many people wish to become foster parents for a variety of reasons. Some couples or individuals foster children with the desire to eventually adopt, but many foster parents are simply good-willed, altruistic people who wish to give something back to the community.

The application process

If you have decided that fostering is something that you would seriously like to pursue, the first thing you need to do is to get in touch with your local council or you can directly apply to a fostering agency in your local area.

Once you have registered your interest, the agency or the council will enquire into your background. They will check up on your health to make sure that you are physically and mentally well enough to look after a child. In addition, they will also run a criminal record check on you and any other people in the house who are of more than 18 years of age.

You will be invited to a group preparation session along with other hopeful foster carers. This will help prepare you for the transition to foster parent and will also give you the opportunity to ask questions.

Your application to become a foster parent will next be assessed by an independent fostering panel who will decide whether or not they think you are right for it. However, the panel do not have the final say, they only make a recommendation. It is up to the agency or council in the end, they have the final say.

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