Ignorance about fostering costs kids a home

The Netmums website has posted a Compass Community survey, and the results have been pretty surprising and revealing. According to the responses 50% of mum’s believe that fostering a child would bring them less than £5,000 a year. Not only that, but 90% believe less than £15,000 is paid, when in reality an allowance of between £20,000 and £40,000 is the norm, depending on a child’s individual needs.

Compass Community Chief Executive Ian Pigden-Bennett said this lack of knowledge could be one reason why not enough people are coming forward to look after a child or young person. “Four out of five mums who took part in the survey say they are or may be interested in fostering at some point in the future.

“But there’s something stopping them taking that next step. It could be because they don’t realise what they could earn or indeed who is eligible. We’re looking for people from all backgrounds, whether single or a couple, yet two fifths mistakenly believe single people are not allowed to foster”

“What’s important to us is that we match the child to the right foster carer or family who can provide them with a loving and caring home. We’re looking for people who can give a child a childhood.”

More than 1,000 people took part in the survey across a three week period, conducted on behalf of Compass Community’s six independent fostering agencies: Seafields Fostering, Eden Fostering, Modus Fostering Partnership, Compass Fostering, Families For Children and The Fostering Partnership.

The survey also highlighted a number of other myths – 1 in 3 people thought it would take longer than 2 years to go through the fostering process – the average time from applying to a Compass Community fostering agency and being accepted is 4 to 6 months.

Nine out of 10 accurately highlighted that you must have a spare bedroom and be over 21 to foster, though there was a mixed knowledge about other requirements, including false assumptions that you must own a property, have a driving licence, have childcare qualifications or have children of your own.

Siobhan Freegard, Netmums Co-Founder said: “To be a foster parent you have to be a very special type of person – but it’s much easier to foster than most people imagine. Worryingly, this survey shows how little potential foster carers know and it highlights how many are being put off as they assume the process to get approved is too hard. While there is currently a shortfall of 9000 foster parents in the UK, these myths could be hindering people to apply.

“Fostering can make a real difference to vulnerable children when they need help the most. By raising awareness of this very important topic, we hope that more people will come forward, see if they are suitable and open their homes and heart to a child or young person in need.”

For further information and survey results, visit www.compasscommunity.co.uk