Make your house a child's long-term home

In Lincolnshire there is a real and urgent need for people to come forward specifically to look after children and young people who need a long-term foster family.

Long-term fostering, also known as permanent fostering, is when a child or young person is cared for until they reach adulthood and beyond. It requires a high level of commitment as carers will need to provide a stable home life for a child until they reach independence.

Many of the children who are currently waiting for a long-term foster family in Lincolnshire are part of a sibling group who need to be placed together with their brothers and sisters. It is recognised that being placed with their siblings can help a child settle into a new family and have a positive sense of who they are.

There are many benefits to long-term fostering both for the child or young person and for their carers. Long-term foster carers give a child or young person the stability of living in one family home for the rest of their childhood. A long-term family gives them a sense of belonging, and with consistent routine, love and understanding, they can begin to flourish and be better prepared for adulthood.

Being a long-term foster carer can be a challenging role, but it is also hugely rewarding! 

If you think you could give a child or sibling group a loving long-term home apply to foster today at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/fostering or call 01522 554114.

A poster calling for respite foster carers can be found here.

A poster calling for long-term foster carers can be found here.

Don't foster misconceptions about fostering

According to the UKs leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network, it is estimated that a further 7,220 foster families are needed nationally in the next 12 months alone to care for the increasing number of children coming into care.  

This picture is mirrored locally with Lincolnshire Fostering Service actively recruiting foster carers across the county.   

Foster carers are needed from all walks of life to meet the diverse needs of the children in their care. Therefore, you can be a foster carer regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, marital status or religion.

Despite this, there are many myths about who can become a foster carer which prevent people from enquiring as they feel they won't be suitable for one reason or another 

Here are some myths that a lot of people think stop them from becoming foster carers and the actual truth.

I can't foster because I work / am unemployed / on a low income.

Whatever your employment status, this is not a barrier to foster. Lincolnshire Fostering Service has foster carers who work full time, some who work part time and some who foster full time instead. There are different types of fostering you can do which can fit around your lifestyle. For example, if you work full time and would love to foster too, Lincolnshire Fostering Service is actively recruiting respite carers who can offer at least 2 weekends a month as well as time during the school holidays. 

Only people from particular backgrounds can be foster carers.

All children have different needs, and so foster carers from all different backgrounds and religions are needed to help care for them. Lincolnshire Fostering Service tries to place children with foster carers who are most likely to be meet their needs including any religion or cultural identity. Training around ‘Equality and Diversity’ is also provided to help foster carers provide the most appropriate care for children.

I can't foster because I'm in a same-sex relationship.

Your sexuality does not preclude you from being a foster carer – what's important is that you can safely care for a child who may have suffered neglect and abuse. Lincolnshire Fostering Service welcomes enquiries from LGBT+ applicants and has successfully approved a number of same-sex foster carers. 

Only people who are married or living together can foster.

Single? No problem! The important thing is that you have a range of life skills and that you think about what support network you have around you in terms of friends and family who can support you with your role as a foster carer.

I'm too old to foster.

It may surprise you to learn that there is no upper age limit to becoming a foster carer. Lincolnshire Fostering Service has carers of all ages, some in their 20s and some in their 80s! As long as you over 21 years of age, are fit and well enough to look after the children in your care, and have a genuine desire to make a real positive difference to children's lives Lincolnshire Fostering Service would love to hear from you!

I can’t foster because I'm a single male.

Many people believe that men can't foster but this just isn't true. Both men and women can make great foster carers as each individual brings their own skills and experiences to the role. Lincolnshire Fostering Service has a number of single male carers who have made a real positive difference to the lives of the children in their care.

If you've ever considered fostering, now is the time to find out more. Apply online today at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/fostering or call 01522 554114 for more information.

This story was published on Thursday 7th May 2020.