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If you have an interest in child care and want to expand your family, you may be weighing up the options between fostering or adoption. Whichever you choose, it is a big decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is important that you are aware of the key differences between fostering and adopting and what they mean for you and your family.
Foster care is a system where a child or young person who cannot stay with their family any longer is placed into the care of an approved foster carer. Children are placed into foster care for a multitude of reasons, this can include abuse, neglect, abandonment, or other issues with the birth family.
The purpose of foster care is to provide the young person with a safe, secure, and loving environment where they can flourish under the care of a foster parent. Foster parents look after a child in the exact same way that a birth parent would, taking them to school, to appointments, on holidays, and ensuring they are cared for in every aspect of their lives.
There are many different types of foster care including long term, short term, respite, emergency, parent and child, and more. This is because no two children will have the same needs and requirements.
The key thing to remember when thinking about becoming a foster carer is that the legal responsibility for any foster child in your care will always be with the local authorities and/or the birth parents. Foster care is not intended to be a permanent position but a care service that is provided until a permanent placement can be found or until the child reaches adulthood. In this latter case, quite often the bond is unbreakable by then and foster parent and child can and do remain close.
Foster carers receive training and support from social workers who are on hand to support them throughout the fostering process, from application through to the ongoing care of the foster child. Foster parents will need to attend meetings, give updates, and work with social workers to ensure that the child or young person is receiving the best ongoing care for their specific needs.
Furthermore, carers are paid an allowance that is intended to pay for the costs of caring for any children in their care. The includes their food, clothes, pocket money and any other expenses that are to be expected. Click the links to find out more about how much foster parents are paid and fostering payments in Wales.
In short, foster care is a temporary commitment to provide care for a young person where the legal responsibility does not lie with the carer.
Unlike fostering, adoption is a legal process. During the process, the rights and responsibilities for the child’s care are legally removed from the birth family and placed with a new family. The adoptive family will take full custody and responsibility for the adopted child and they will officially become the legal guardians/parents of the child.
Whereas fostering is temporary, adopting is a permanent, legally-binding process where the adoptive parents are given the same rights and privileges as the birth parents would have had.
Just like fostering, there are specific requirements that you must meet to adopt and you will also need to go through an assessment process. Adoptive parents do also receive support from social services to help guide them through the process.
Fostering and adopting are both amazing things to do and both help to make a positive impact on a child’s life, giving them a chance to build a happier future. However, there are some key differences to consider when choosing whether to foster or adopt. The most important things to remember are permanency and legal parental rights as these are the core factors that differentiate the two processes.
The demand for foster carers across the UK is high. Every year, thousands of new carers must be approved to meet the demand for children and young people who desperately need safe and loving homes to help protect them. Choosing to foster helps to provide a nurturing and safe environment for children across your region who need a home.
To find out more about how to become a foster carer, what it involves, and if it’s right for you, get in contact with Family Fostering Partners. We are an independent family-focused agency operating solely in South Wales that provides dedicated support to our carers, give us a call on 03300 948816, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our contact form.
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