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Can you Foster as a Single Parent?

Can I foster a child if I’m a single parent? This is a common question many people have when they’re considering becoming a foster parent. There are a lot of misconceptions about what makes a perfect foster carer, with one of the main ones being that you have to be in a loving, committed relationship in order to be considered.

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So does this mean you can become a foster parent if you’re single? The answer is a resounding “yes”. In fact, all kinds of individuals can apply regardless of their relationship status. The most important factor considered is whether you’re able to offer a child entering your home a supportive, loving and nurturing environment.

There’s also a few practical considerations taken into account. Do you have enough space available for another child for example? You’ll also need to be able to demonstrate time and dedication to the fostering process. This means showing a commitment to ongoing training, having a genuine interest in helping young people going through difficult times and a willingness to engage fully in the process.

You’ll also need to undergo regular meetings with social workers and support staff where necessary.

Benefits of Fostering a Child for Single Parents

There are a number of situations where single-parent families can actually be better for a foster child. For example, if the foster carer is a single woman, an appropriate match may be a young girl who has suffered abuse at her previous home. It may not be appropriate for her to live in a home with older males, so entering a foster home with a single mother would be the best fit.

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Additionally, a single parent who is unable to work full time because they are looking after their own children, may already be geared up to integrate a foster child into their home.

Things to Consider

While there are resounding benefits of fostering as a single parent, there are also a few things you need to be aware of.

Firstly, you need to make sure you’re not going to be overstretching yourself. Fostering is extremely rewarding, but it can also be challenging when going it alone. Therefore, single parents really have to be honest with themselves and ensure that they have sufficient time and resources to dedicate to fostering another child.

You also need to consider your own child. Have you discussed fostering another child with them? It’s really important to discuss why you want to foster and how it will help the child coming into your home.

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You’ll also need to consider the age of the children you want to foster. There are advantages with taking on a child of a similar age to your own kids, as well as with taking on a slightly older child. This can be fully discussed with your supervising social worker.

Employment

The issue of work and employment is particularly important for a single parent considering becoming a foster carer. This is because being a full time foster carer is, as you might imagine, a full time job. This is why foster carers are paid allowances in the form of foster care payments to enable them to devote the necessary time and attention to the child or children in their care.

If you are a single parent considering becoming a full time foster carer, are you in a position to give up full time employment?

If the answer is no, there are still a number of options available, such as providing respite foster care over weekends or during school holidays. Respite foster care gives other parents or carers the opportunity of a much needed break, while giving children the chance to enjoy new experiences and benefit from alternative positive role models.

Overall, single parents can make excellent foster carers. As long as you have the time, a caring disposition and a willingness to love and nurture the child that comes into your care, that’s all that really matters.