Five Myths About Being a Foster Carer

Carmen D. Lade

Although many people speak out about their positive experiences as a foster carer, there are still many untrue myths about the occupation. These range from false ideas of the work involved right through to who is eligible to become a foster carer. Here are some of the main myths and the truth behind them.

Firstly, many people believe that you have to be a certain age to be a foster carer. The reality is that there is no ideal age to fulfil such a roll, and individuals of all ages are welcome to apply for such a position. There is often a lower age limit of around twenty-one years old, depending on where you are in the world. Many people who are retired can foster, despite their belief that they are too old.

More important than age, is whether or not the individual has the skills and personality to be able to handle the task ahead of them. For those with the right motivation and skills, full foster carer training is given, allowing each individual to develop their skills in order to handle their occupation, regardless of whether they are young or old.

The second big myth is that all children who are in foster care are very difficult to parent, making the challenge of looking after them stressful and seemingly unsurmountable. This is a myth that has been perpetuated largely by the media. In reality, however, the behaviour of children varies a great deal.

Many children have behavioural difficulties that are typical of their age, whether they are a toddler or a teenager. There are children with more severe behavioural difficulties, but only experienced and fully trained carers who are motivated to deal with these challenges are chosen to foster them. Otherwise, regular foster carers do not need to worry about especially difficult behaviour.

The third myth about foster caring is that potential carers are expected to be super skilled and know what they are doing at all times. This amounts to a lot of pressure on the potential foster carers. However, this is not necessarily true. Many people are keen to be foster carers, but their skills must be nurtured and improved first.

For this reason, many foster care agencies offer foster care training on a regular basis. This is on top of the initial training period to become a foster carer. Ample support is usually provided in order to make sure that foster parents are able to always have someone to turn to in challenging times.

Fourthly, some people still believe that single people and same sex couples cannot foster. In the vast majority of cases, depending on the country you live in of course, this is certainly not true. An individual who is motivated and has good skillset will be accepted, regardless of their marital status and their sexual orientation.

This allows foster carers to enjoy caring for a child even if they are unable to have one of their own or if they do not wish to have one of their own. This benefits both the child and the individual or couple who wish to foster.

Lastly, one myth that persists is that individuals must own their own home to become a foster carer. Those who rent, however, can still become foster parents as long as they can provide a stable home for a child.

Many people who rent – who have a great skill set – go on to be some of the best foster carers. There are many myths out there about foster care, yet they simply are not true in the vast majority of cases.

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