With over a quarter of people considering fostering, but almost 60 per cent mistakenly thinking they're not eligible, we want to bust the myths and tackle the many reasons people don't come forward.
We aim to bust the myths of fostering, and show how you can transform the lives of the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people.
Myth: "I'd love to foster, but… I don't think I'm the right age."You can. Over half of 45-54 year olds believe they're too old too foster. Legally, you must be over 18 (21 in Scotland) to foster. But we don't have any upper age limits. Our only requirements are that you have enough energy and experience to take care of lively children! In fact, almost 10 per cent of our foster carers are over 60 and three per cent (10) are under 30.
Myth: "I'd love to foster, but… I'm male."You can. It doesn't matter what gender you are, both women and men make great foster carers. In fact, almost half of our foster carers are male. If you have energy, resilience and understanding, you can help to transform a child's life.
Myth: "I'd love to foster, but… I'm gay."You can. Whether you are straight, gay or bisexual, we welcome applications from people who can bring different skills, knowledge and life experiences to the fostering role, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Myth: "I'd love to foster, but… I don't own my home."You can. You don't need to own your house to foster. As long as each child can have their own bedroom, you can foster. Some of our foster carers live in rented accommodation and some own their homes.
Myth: "I'd love to foster, but… I don't have children."You can. Although having your own children is a great way to gain the experience and knowledge you need to become a foster carer, you don't have to be a parent to foster. All we ask is that you've cared for children or young people through family contact, volunteering or employment. If you do have your own children living at home, we'll carefully match foster children or young people to the needs of your family and circumstances.
Myth: "I'd love to foster, but… I'm single."You can. We don't have any requirements about your marital status. Our foster carers may be single, married, in a civil partnership or living with a partner. Almost 30 per cent of our foster carers are single.
Myth: "I'd love to foster, but... I haven't worked with children or young people."You can. Almost 60 per cent of our foster carers come from backgrounds not related to childcare. These range from taxi drivers to accountants to running a fish and chip shop! We'll offer you excellent training, development and support so you're prepared for the challenges and rewards of fostering. We just ask that you've got some experience caring for children or young people through your family or volunteering.
Myth: "I'd love to foster, but... I don't think they recruit carers from my ethnicity."You can. We need all types of carers to reflect the types of children and young people who need a place to stay when they can't live with their birth families. We welcome applications from all people who can bring different skills, knowledge and life experiences to the fostering role, whatever their ethnicity.
Myth: "I'd love to foster, but... I can't afford to give up work."You can. We need carers who can give their full-time attention to the children and young people staying with them. But we know fostering is challenging work that needs to be professionally recognised. So if your current role means you don't have the time to become a carer, don't worry. By being paid, carers can focus on their time and skills on caring for children and young people.
Myth: "I'd love to foster, but I'm not sure I can make a difference."You can. By fostering, you'll transform the lives of the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people. Ninety-five per cent of the children who live with an Action for Children foster carer said it had helped them, and a further 80 per cent said it had helped them a lot. With over 89,000 children and young people in care, and almost 60 per cent of them in foster homes, we need people like you.