If you like working with children and young people, have a spare bedroom and would be willing to offer the much needed care, support and attention to a child from Richmond upon Thames, you could become a foster carer.
As long as you live within an easy commute of the borough, and are over 21 years old, you can apply to become a foster carer. Your race, religion or sexuality will not prevent you from fostering.
There are certain criminal convictions which will automatically rule out someone from fostering, these are largely those concerning violence and sexual offences against both adults and children.
Other types of convictions will be looked into as part of the assessment, with enhanced checks conducted. Honesty is the best policy from the start, so you should ask the Fostering Team if you have any questions.
Fostering involves your whole family, and can be a complete change to normal life, with everyone from partners to children having to make allowances and compromises in order to accommodate a fostered child.
Training is given as part of becoming an approved carer, which enables care for the fostered child and support for the family they are living with.
For those interested in fostering who already have children at home, the impact of a fostered child can be a worry. It is important to involve your children throughout the process, to make sure their input and feelings are heard. The idea that children have to share their parents with others can be difficult.
The fostering team organise outings for the children of foster carers to recognise their input and allow them to share their experiences.
Feedback from most carers' children is that fostering is an enjoyable experience for them, providing many opportunities they wouldn’t normally have to meet new people, learn from them and share experiences.
Read a first hand account from birth children of foster carers for their views on being part of a fostering family.