Starting your journey as a foster carer in Scotland is an exciting time. It is so useful in the early exploratory days to engage with all of the material and have every conversation that pops into your head. This guide explores more about how to get started and what you need to know.
Check Whether You Meet the Criteria
To become a foster carer, you must reliably meet specific conditions. These are listed here:
- Be at least 21 years old.
- Have a spare bedroom in your home.
- Not have any serious crime convictions like abuse.
- Complete and pass a DBS certificate.
- Be healthy and fit enough.
There is no requirement for you to be in a relationship or have a partner, nor do you need to own your home to start the process. Single carers of any religion or sexual orientation are treated equally during the application and training process.
Get to Know Your Options: Picking an Agency
Foster carers have a choice of private agencies to pick from in Scotland. Getting to know what the various picks have to offer support wise is essential. You must feel comfortable that your choice is leading you down the path of maximum support and positive outcomes. Popular agencies like fcascotland.co.uk operate with their carers and children at the forefront of what they do and will have a range of ongoing development opportunities to enhance your skills along the way.
Preparing Your Home
There are some things that are non-negotiable when it comes to getting your home ready to welcome a child who needs a foster care placement. Their bedroom, for example, must include a bed, mattress, linen, and at least a set of drawers alongside neutral, tidy decoration. This will be their space while they live with you, and it is important to get it right. This is a major thing you can do once the panel has approved you as a carer because it might not be too long to wait before you begin active fostering. Other tips include making sure the cupboards are full and that you have a bag full of spare essentials like toiletries and stationery.
Decide What You Can and Can’t Do
Creating a distinction between what you feel comfortable with fostering wise and what would make you feel anxious or unprepared is a key part of safer caring. For example, would you have the space and skillset to accept a sibling placement? Or would you prefer to look after single-placement younger children? If the fostering agency considers your profile and skills to be a strong match for a child who needs it, they will approach you for the placement. You don’t have to say yes, but you should consider it carefully before you turn it down. Even if it’s not what you imagined, it might still be a great opportunity to help and grow as a carer.
Starting the foster carer journey in Scotland requires dedication and determination. There will be lots to learn and even more to do, but this is all necessary to facilitate a positive experience for both you and the children.