If you’re looking for a career change, you’d be hard pushed to find a more rewarding career choice than foster care. Foster carers are an essential part of a complex system that ensures all children are well taken care of, regardless of their circumstances. They may help orphaned children to build a new life, or help troubled families to work through their problems and be reunited again.
Although fostering is often banded together with adoption, there are quite a few differences between the two. Fostering is as much a career choice as anything else, and foster carers are compensated for their time and expertise with an allowance or wage. If you’re thinking about making a career switch, here are five professions that will be well-suited to becoming foster carers.
This one may seem obvious, but being able to work well with young people is essential to being a good foster carer. Teachers will also have experience of dealing with difficult behaviour, strong communication skills and an appreciation of the importance of education in a young person’s life. While many retired teachers may be concerned they are too old to make the transition to becoming a foster carer, there is actually no upper age limit for applying.
With a background in self-discipline and an appreciation for teamwork and leadership, ex-military personnel are well-equipped to provide a stable environment for young people. As a lot of young people in care come from troubled backgrounds, they will need someone to care for them with patience and understanding. They also need consistently strong role models, which is why ex-military personnel make ideal foster carers.
Fostering can offer career development and training opportunities to homemakers who are struggling to return to the workforce. It is a myth that parents cannot become foster carers if they have their own children living at home – each situation will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Obviously, your family will have to be onboard with your decision, but opening your home to a foster child can be highly beneficial to both parties. Being able to offer a stable environment to a young person can be highly beneficial, and your own children will benefit from being part of this process.
Emergency service workers
Being able to stay calm and handle any situation is essential to becoming a successful foster carer. Anyone who crumbles under pressure or cannot cope with distressing situations will struggle to handle the complexities of being a foster carer. Emergency service workers are also trained to be empathetic and understanding; both are essential skills for becoming a foster carer.
Social workers will have in-depth knowledge of the social care system and a solid understanding of the challenges faced by everyone across the network. Social workers also make ideal foster carers as they will be experienced in handling emotionally distressing situations. Communication is essential to success in this career and foster carers will be required to communicate effectively with court workers, therapists, teachers, the fostering agency and sometimes the child’s relatives.
If you’re thinking about switching careers and becoming a foster carer, get in touch with your local authority or a private fostering agency to find out more about the process and start your application.