Going back to work after having a baby is a daunting and unwelcome prospect for many women who love caring for and being around their children. However, there are alternatives to doing the 9 to 5 available that avoid leaving your child with a childminder five days a week.
Fostering is a challenging but very rewarding career choice which could give you the flexibility to continue being a stay at home mum. You will be trained to provide specialist care to a vulnerable child, and be given the opportunity to really make a difference in their lives.
There are many myths surrounding foster care that put people off applying; age, sexuality, race and religion are no barriers to being a great foster parent, and as long as you have a spare room and are aged over 21 The FCA will consider you.
You will receive a lot of training before you foster your first child, with areas covering communication, promoting positive behaviour, equality and diversity, first aid, health and safety and more. You can also attend further training workshops once you begin fostering, and study to gain qualifications like ‘Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People’s Workforce’, which will look great on your CV.
Often people presume fostering is done on a voluntary basis, but in fact foster carers generally get paid at least £400 per week per child, with tax relief on their income. Whilst this means you will of course be dedicating a lot of time to your foster child, you will be in a financial position to continue being a stay-at-home mom for the sake of the rest of your family.
Fostering will affect your biological children, and so it is something you must talk through as a family before making any decisions. Fostering will involve your entire family, but your children will receive the support they need as well, with the opportunity to talk to the family’s supervising social worker when necessary.
Fostering is not a career choice for the faint-hearted; you will obviously need to love children, to be patient, committed and able to offer a foster child the stability they so desperately need. Many people consider fostering for months or even years before making the leap and applying to foster, but if you want to find a way to work from home and caring for children is your passion, fostering could well be the right option for you.
Emily Bradbury is writing on behalf of The FCA, leading fostering agency in the UK. If you would like to find out more why not get in touch; you can even chat to someone online.