If you’re considering fostering, chances are you’ve heard the age-old myth that foster families need to be a traditional family unit of a mother and a father. They are often pictured as a married couple in their mid-50s who have an abundance of time and wealth to dedicate towards fostering.
The reality, however, is that single foster carers are eagerly sought after. There are over 1.3 million people in the UK aged between 25 and 44 who currently live alone, according to the Office of National Statistics. This represents a huge pool of people who may be interested in fostering, but are letting their single relationship status hold them back.
If you’re interested in being a foster carer but you’re currently single and living on your own, here is what you should know about eligibility and why you should consider fostering.
Can you be a foster carer if you’re single?
The good news is that you can absolutely foster as a single carer. Specific criteria will vary across agencies but, generally speaking, marital status is not a cause for concern. If you can offer a child a loving, supportive and safe home, there is a good chance that you can become a foster carer. The main requirements for fostering are that you’re in good mental and physical health, your home has a spare room suitable for a child or young person, and that you can pass a thorough DBS check.
Fostering as a single carer does come with its own unique challenges. Being a single carer requires you to have patience, empathy and compassion in abundance. It may also take a little extra energy because you don’t have a partner to help you with the workload.
Even so, the agency you work with will assign a social worker to your case and support both you and the child. It’s also advisable to get involved with the local network of foster carers so that you have a sturdy support network of likeminded carers. At Olive Branch Fostering, we are always here to support you in your choice to become a foster carer, regardless of your marital status.
Can an unmarried couple become foster carers?
If you are technically single but have a partner, you are still able to apply to become foster carers. If you live with a partner but are not married, you will be assessed on the basis of the stability of your relationship and what you can offer. In today’s society, it is recognised that couples that are unmarried are not necessarily less stable than married couples.
Can I work full-time and be a foster carer?
Do you have a full-time job but are still interested in becoming a single foster carer? It’s important to note that to be a successful foster carer, you need to have plenty of free time to support your foster child. After all, you will need to factor in time to meet with teachers, the agency’s social worker, and other professionals about the child’s education, health and social adjustment.
Although there’s no hard and fast rule that says you can’t foster if you have a full-time job, some flexibility is required and you should be regularly available. For example, it is unlikely that you would be paired with a young child if that child then has to stay in full-time day care while you’re at work. In this case, fostering older children may be possible. Be as transparent as possible with the agency about your work requirements.
Choose to foster as a single carer
Fostering as a single carer is a way to build a new and fulfilling career, caring for children in need who benefit from your skills, compassion and love. As a single foster carer, you can make a real difference in someone’s upbringing.
As a foster carer, you get to meet some amazing children and young adults. You get to nurture them and prepare them for the next chapter in their lives. Parenting is a skill unlike any other, and one that comes with peaks and troughs. However, you will never forget the experiences or skills that fostering can offer.
There’s no doubt about it – the rewards, the buzz and the satisfaction that fostering gives you as a carer is nothing short of unique. If you’ve become dissatisfied with the monotonous 9 to 5 routine, then fostering could be the exciting and gratifying career move for you. With a full-service agency, you will be supported throughout the entire process and provided with a competitive foster care allowance.
How do I become a single foster carer?
Once you have contacted a fostering agency, they will inform you of the next steps. They will conduct a home visit where they will assess the environment and any other family members or people living on the property.
During the application process, you will work with a social worker and attend a training course to meet other fosters and learn more about the role. This is where your network begins. This support team of other carers and the social worker ensure that you are never alone when faced with moments of concern that are just part and parcel of parenting. At Olive Branch Fostering, we are with you every step of the way – from the application process to daily life with a child.
Find out more about fostering
If you are single and want to become a foster carer, the team at Olive Branch Fostering would love to hear from you. We support foster carers across the North West and Midlands to care for children is a safe and loving environment. In addition to providing 24/7 support and a generous allowance, we work to make the application and approval process as streamlined as possible.
We believe that whether you’re young, old, single, widowed, gay, straight or transgender, everyone has the opportunity to become a fantastic foster carer. Call us on 01706 558910 to arrange an informal chat with our fostering advisor. Alternatively, fill out a form and we’ll get in touch as soon as possible.