In Australia, NSW has the highest number of children aged 0-17 in the out-of-home-care system needing a safe home. While there are many caring individuals and families opening up their homes and lives to foster children, there remains an ongoing need for more carers.
Here, we bust some of the most common myths surrounding foster care. So if you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer, but are worried about some barriers you may face, read on to learn more.
Myth 1: All children in foster care have experienced abuse.
Not all children are placed in foster care because of abuse. Some parents are terminally ill, some have had severe financial difficulties, and some are not ready to provide for their children.
There’s a variety of reasons why children are in the foster care system, and it’s important to understand this in relation to how children express themselves through their behaviours. To learn more about helping children with challenging behaviour download our free eBook here.
As a foster carer, it’s a requirement that you provide a secure, stable and nurturing home where a child can feel safe. This may not happen overnight, but with support and understanding, children and young people can start to build trust with the adults in their lives.
Once you become an authorised foster carer with Challenge, you will become a part of our team dedicated to supporting the children and young people in your care. We provide you with ongoing training and a dedicated case worker. If an emergency were to arise, you can access our after-hours support number. Read more about support for foster carers with Challenge.
Myth 2: We are a same-sex couple, so I don’t think we’ll be accepted as foster carers.
We welcome loving foster carers independent of their sexual orientation. If you can provide a safe and nurturing environment for a child or young person, and you are committed to nurturing and encouraging them, you will be able to start your journey of becoming a foster carer.
Myth 3: I’m single. I would have to be in a relationship or married to become a foster carer.
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and Challenge welcomes all who are interested in becoming a carer. Whether you are single, de facto or married, the important part is that you can provide a safe and loving home for a child in need.
Click here to read our blog ‘The power of one foster carer’, an incredible story about how a single carer made a profound difference in the life of a 15-year-old young person in need.
Myth 4: I’m renting. I must own a home to become a foster carer.
To become a foster carer you will need to have a spare bedroom in your house for a child or young person. A bedroom allows a child to feel they have an opportunity to rest, play, be creative and feel like they have somewhere to belong. It is a room that they can take ownership of and call their own.
Having your own children share the same bedroom with a foster child is generally not accepted, neither is having a house member sleep in another room, i.e. in the living room, to allow for a spare bedroom.
It doesn’t matter if you own the home you are living in or if you are renting. As long as you have a spare bedroom and can provide a safe environment, home ownership is not essential.
Take the ‘Can I foster?’ quiz on our website today to find out if you are eligible to start your foster care application.
Myth 5: My children won’t like a foster child.
Some people have concerns that having children enter their care will impact negatively on their biological family. The reality is that some of our biggest advocates are the children of foster carers who are vocal about how much they enjoy sharing their lives with other kids.
At Challenge, we assess the needs of each family and undertake placement matching to ensure your family and your foster child are supported through the transition. Your biological children and your foster child will learn from each other. They acquire interpersonal skills of consideration, sensitivity and understanding. This learning opportunity will be shared by their foster siblings as they navigate the experience together.
Read Kate’s story, about how a family of five became a family of nine as Kate* and Aaron* became foster carers for four children.
If you have any questions about your eligibility to become a foster carer, please take our ‘Can I foster?’ quiz online or contact our friendly team on 1800 084 954 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to start your application if you are ready to become a Challenge foster carer.