Research suggests that the number of children in foster care in the UK is at an all-time high. In fact, there are currently over 82,000 children in the care system, which is an increase of 2% from last year. There are many reasons why children end up in care. Some go into care when a loved one becomes too unwell to look after them, while others go into care because of abuse or neglect. These children remain in care until the issues at home are resolved.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of foster carers, many of these children end up being placed into care homes for this period. This can have a detrimental impact on the child’s health and well-being. While many people like the idea of becoming a foster carer, very few people decide to become one. They may believe that they do not have the right skills or qualifications to look after foster children, while others believe they are too old.
The good news is that you don’t have to have any specific qualifications to become a foster carer, and there is no age limit. As long as you are over 21, you can apply to become a foster parent. If you want to know why you should become a foster parent in later life, keep reading below:
1- Valuable Life Experience
Fostering agencies like fosterplus.co.uk are constantly looking for new foster parents to join their teams. However, as mentioned above, many people worry they are too old to become foster parents. Thankfully, this is usually not the case. In fact, older foster parents can offer their foster child something that younger people cannot: valuable life experience. While you may not have had the same experience as the children you foster, life will no doubt have taught you a considerable number of valuable lessons that you can pass on.
2- More Free Time
Often, as we get older, we find ourselves with more free time, usually because we no longer have to go to work. Having no work commitments means you have more time to spend helping and caring for your foster children.
3- You’ve Got Lots of Experience
While it’s not necessary to have had your own children in the past, if you have, you already have experience raising and caring for children. This can significantly help you if you decide to foster a child. However, it’s essential to be aware that looking after foster children isn’t the same as raising your own child.
4- Fill Your Home with Love and Laughter
When our children leave home, we often wish they were young again. We miss their smiling faces, the sound of laughter, and the love they give us. By becoming a foster carer, you have the opportunity to fill your home full of love and laughter once more.
5- You Can Choose
If you like the idea of fostering but are worried that you wouldn’t be able to cope with looking after a baby, the good news is that you don’t have to. You simply need to let the fostering agency know that you only want to foster children over a certain age.
As you can see, there are many reasons why fostering in later life is a great idea. Not only do you have valuable life experience which will help you bond and guide your foster children, but you also have more free time, meaning you can dedicate yourself to a child.