“In the UK there is a real shortage of foster careers, approximately 9000 careers short.”
Keith Santilla Jones is the Marketing and recruitment coordinator for Outlook Fostering to talk about this crisis.
What is the criteria for becoming a foster career?
“The main rule is you have to be aged 23 or older and the child would need their own bedroom. It don’t matter if you have a partner or not.”
“It is a chance to make a positive change for the children, providing an opportunit, a colleague described it as ‘roots and wings’ to explore life it can mean everything to the child.
What is the process to foster?
“The process from start to finish is about six months. There is a home visit which gives the applicant lots of opportunity to ask questions. We need to get references to paint a picture of your life, at the end of the day your looking after a child so it has to be comprehensive.”
What training is provided?
“There is a two day course which provides an overview of the profession. There was a really interesting exercise we had to do. This involved taking in something really precious and leave in a bag for a couple of hours, mine was my wedding ring, it was an emotive thing. It helps you understand what it is like for the children. The children arrive with nothing, so it’s a good exercise.”
What are the challenges?
“Caring is not an easy job, but it is rewarding. We do have situations where a foster arrangement breaks down. This can be for several reasons, the placement a has had a negative effect of career or the child. The matching system sometimes goes wrong it don’t happen often but if it does its ‘life‘ we do everything we can but there are no guarantees. It is rare but some children have to move eight or nine times before it’s the right move.”
Does the job pay well?
“The figure varies from authority to authority however £400 a month is an average wage for fostering but many people do it cause they want to make a difference however the money is a good incentive. Your classed as self employed. The child will also get pocket money at the current rate of £1.00 for every year of their age per week, and extra per week for their clothing allowance tax free. But they do it cause they want to and not for the money, its just an incentive.”
How long will the child be with the foster career?
“The aim is to return the child to their parents but if that’s not possible the social worker may recommend the child stays with the foster parent longer.”
How is the Syrian Crisis affecting the foster care system in the UK?
Dover, Kent has been inundated with minors alone arriving at our borders all the time. It is alarming and more becoming more prevalent.”
How can Kent County Council Cope Financially?
“It’s a nessecery cost, these are young peoples lives.”
What does a child get put in foster care?
“Any number of reasons, sometimes a child puts themselves forward for fostering.”
Who is legally responsible for the child?
“It is the local authority but the career does have a say.”
There was over 8000 children in foster care in 2014, this is a major concern especially as now there are still around 9000 children in the UK awaiting for foster care. If you feel you would like to make a difference or find out more, then visit www.outlookfostering.com