Is being a foster carer a job or a vocation?

Posted on May 31, 2021 at 10:32 pm

There is a national shortage of foster carers across the UK which means that many children are living in surroundings that keep them safe and well but do not offer the family environment that is crucial to their wellbeing.

Foster carers are paid a generous fostering allowance, and get tax concessions for looking after each child, with higher allowances for looking after the most challenging of children, but it is a job like no other. It is difficult for carers to be wholly reliant on the income from fostering, because it is only when you have a child or young person in placement that you will be paid. This might need some planning on your part to make sure you can manage any periods when you do not have a child placed with you.

Being a foster carer is most definitely not simply about the income it may bring. People who start the fostering journey with this belief or attitude are unlikely to get through the assessment process. Good foster parents have to be able to adopt a parenting style that mixes boundaries with warmth, flexibility and in some cases having a thick skin. Fostering places an emphasis on relationships, and on problem solving, with an expectation that fostering families commit to building a positive relationship with the child they look after so in this regard fostering definitely qualifies for the title of a vocation.

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