Reasons you should consider fostering
1. Change a child’s life
This is the single biggest reason why people start fostering, and it’s easily the most powerful. As a foster parent, the work you do helps get a child or young person's life back on track after a difficult start.
Watching them gain confidence is a source of incredible pride and satisfaction, and you’ll see the changes happening slowly but surely, marked by smiles, laughter, small achievements and big steps. Watching a wary and anxious young person find their own voice and personality is an incredibly privileged experience, and will almost certainly change you too.
2. Develop lifelong bonds
Even if you foster a child for only a short while, you’ll leave a big impression on their life. Quite often, the relationships are so strong that they carry over into the child’s later life, and it’s not uncommon for foster parents to keep in touch with the children they’ve looked after and share key moments in their lives, including weddings for example.
3. A chance to learn new skills
Fostering is a profession, and although it calls for some natural caring qualities, there’s still a lot that can be learned – about children’s psychology and behaviour, medical issues and all the things that impact on a young person’s life and behaviour.
At Orange Grove, our fostering service includes extensive training that helps you acquire and develop these skills and learn new things about life, and yourself.
4. Important life lessons for you and your family
Many people who start fostering with their own birth children find it can be a rewarding experience for everyone. Many tell us how much their own children have benefitted from forming friendships with the children they've cared for, and through learning understanding, compassion and empathy.
5. A new circle of friends and support
We organise lots of events and activities to help you build strong relationships with other local foster parents and their families. This means you’ll have a wide circle of new friends to share experiences and get support. These are strong and important bonds that will extend your friendship group and enhance your fostering experience even more.
6. Contributing to the community
The impact of fostering extends beyond just the children in your care and your own family. You’re carrying out an important job and changing lives, as well as giving something back to your community – and that’s something to be proud of.
Frequently asked questions
How does fostering work?
The ultimate goal of fostering is to improve the outcomes for children, so they can go on to lead healthy, happy and fulfilling lives.
To achieve this, foster care providers, such as Orange Grove, recruit, train and reward a diverse team of passionate individuals who open their homes to children in need. And we’re always on the lookout for people interested in becoming a foster parent.
When a child enters care, they will have their needs professionally assessed and included within their personal care plan. We work closely with local authorities to find a foster parent who will be able to meet these needs and care for them for as long or as little as required.
Foster parents may care for a child for a night or two, several months or years, or even on a long-term basis until the child turns 18.
What's the difference between fostering and adoption?
There are some key differences between fostering and adoption. The main difference is around legal responsibility for the child; when you foster a child, the legal responsibility often remains with the birth parents or the local authority in some cases, however, you become the legal guardian when adopting.
Other key differences include;
- Length of time you'll care for a child - when fostering, you can care for a child for as little as a day or two, and up to 18 years until they reach independence. With adoption, you'll care for the child as you would your own birth children and they'll be part of your family forever.
- Age of children - Children who are looking to be adopted are generally younger (under 6), whereas with fostering, the young person is likely to be over 6 or in foster care with siblings.
- Allowances - foster parents receive a weekly fostering allowance to cover the cost of caring for a child and provides them with a professional fee. This financial package is not available to adoptive parents.
Do I need any experience to become a foster parent?
Previous experience with children, either in a professional or personal capacity, is beneficial but it's absolutely not essential.
Our foster parent training programme will provide you with all the skills and knowledge you need to work with children in foster care right from the get-go. Plus, you'll have your very own supervising social worker, a family support worker and regional manager by your side, offering expert guidance and ongoing support.
Got some more questions? Find out the answers here.
Ready to start your fostering journey?
One of our team is available to talk to you over the phone to answer any of your fostering queries.
You can get in touch by filling out our online enquiry form with any queries that you may have.
Your local office
We have local teams covering most of England. Find your local office today.