Just thought I’d post today following a report I’ve just read on the BBC News Website, following a recently published survey by the charity Action For Children. A questionnaire about what people perceive to be ‘facts’ about becoming a foster carer, highlighted just how many myths are currently out there. For instance, of the 2000 adults questioned, a third thought you couldn’t become a foster carer if you lived in rented accommodation – that’s me and Mike disbarred, then! – and a similar number didn’t realise you got financial support for doing it, or that you could apply even if you weren’t in full time employment.
There was similar misunderstanding about the type of people who are able to foster, many believing that you couldn’t if you were gay, or over 55, or even a man!
If you’ve read my books, you’ll know that not only do we get children from all kinds of backgrounds, but that the one thing I keep banging on about is that, with a few obvious common-sense exceptions, pretty much everyone who cares for the well-being of children can apply to become a foster carer. It’s one of those jobs where, even if it’s not true to say ‘love is ALL you need’ (you need resilience and common sense and empathy, too), being able to love and care for kids is by far the most important thing on the job spec.
You can read the full news report here and, if you’re thinking of fostering, I urge you to do so, because there is currently a huge shortage, and it’s getting bigger. Oh, and the one thing I would add from personal experience is that though the process might seem intimidating – yes, there’s the inevitable red tape and form filling and interviews and so on – people from all walks of life foster, and do a brilliant job. So don’t listen to myths – go and find out the real facts. It’s one of the most fulfilling jobs imaginable, I promise!