Is having a spare bedroom a good reason to become a foster carer?

You may have seen various comments in the media this past week, following the news that a council has suggested a novel way for those in social housing to avoid the coming drop in benefits they will suffer if they have a spare bedroom in their home. Whatever you think of the politics, it certainly made me smile.  Yes, you definitely need a spare oom or two if you’re thinking of going into fostering, which is why older parents, with rooms freed up as their children fly the nest, so often do. But, oh my, it needs a lot more than that. It needs time, it needs commitment, it needs a real  passion FOR doing it, particularly if you go down the route Mike and I did – taking in children who come with all sorts of extra challenges.

Of course, what’s reported isn’t necessarily what was intended, and the council were at pains to point out that they would never consider someone who was clearly only interested in fostering for financial gain, but even so, it does send out a slightly misleading message. Yes, you get paid for fostering, and for some, it’s only that payment that makes it possible – and it would be a sad world where only the well heeled could afford to take in children who need them, wouldn’t it? And it made me recall something else, too. We’re tenants, and when we took in little Spencer a few years back (his story is the subject of Too Hurt To Stay) Mike and I never imagined that not only would he occupy our spare room, but that his various escapades would cause such fury among our neighbours that we would actually end up having to move house! Fortunately, we found a lovely new home – one even better suited to our fostering – but it does illustrate that fostering involves much more than decorating a room out…

You can read the  piece here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21974707

And if you want to find out some more about what fostering really entails, this site has some useful information:

http://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/fostering-and-short-breaks-service

Happy Easter all!

Casey x