Universities abound in Cambridgeshire and there is a long held tradition of students renting spare bedrooms from residents. Whilst this is a lucrative way of adding to the household finances, it leaves little room for some of Cambridgeshire’s 500* ‘looked after’ children to experience a supportive and safe life in a foster home.
Foster carers come from all backgrounds, all ethnicities, all walks of life. Single people, co-habiting couples, same gender couples, married, divorced or civil partners, your status is no bar to you fostering.
Cambridgeshire, and indeed the whole of East Anglia, has a diverse ethnic population and young people from all ethnicities come into care for a variety of reasons. Careful matching of foster carers who can meet the cultural and religious needs of children in care is paramount, therefore, foster carers are needed from all sectors of society.
Whilst the minimum age for people to become foster carers is 21, life experience and maturity are hugely important assets. Vulnerable foster children and young people need stability and security to achieve their goals and their potential. There is no upper age limit, but foster carers must be able to cope with the physical and emotional demands of fostering young people who, on occasions, present challenging behaviour.
You will need a spare bedroom for your foster child to call their own.
There is no need for you to own your own home, many foster carers live in rented accommodation, but you will have to seek written permission from your landlord before we begin the foster carer assessment process.
You don’t need formal qualifications, your life experience, child care experience, sense of humour, patience and resilience are more important as is a genuine wish to help children and young people move on from difficult situations and enable them to make the changes they wish.
*Government statistics as at 31 March 2014
Some frequently asked question.
Q: “Can I foster if I have criminal convictions?”
A: You will not be able to foster if you have convictions against children, or convictions of serious violence.
Q: “How many children can I foster?”
A: The limit on the number of children you are able to foster is usually three, although this could be more if the children are a related sibling group.
Q: “Can fostered children share a bedroom?”
A: Fostered children are able to share bedrooms if they are related. This would depend upon the gender, age and specific needs of the children.
Q: “Can I foster if I smoke?”
A: Smoking would not prohibit you from fostering. Although there is a preference for foster carers to be non-smokers. Children under the age of five would not be placed in a household where people smoke.
Q: “Can I foster if I have young children of my own?”
A: Yes but consideration would be given to the size of your property and sleeping arrangements for example. The views of your children will also be obtained regarding your intention to foster.
If you could foster a vulnerable child or young person in Cambridgeshire, please get in touch.