Did you know only 4% of foster carers are aged between 25 - 34 years?
In fact, the majority of the wonderful foster carer workforce in this country is over 45. Without a doubt, older people bring invaluable life experience and personal stability to the role of a foster carer, but younger people have a lot to offer too, especially to children who are expected to be in foster care for the long-term.
The reason that there are so few 25-34 years old foster carers isn't because they aren't eligible to foster. Sadly, it's because this age group tends to assume they aren't eligible to foster and consequently never apply in the first place. In a separate opinion poll this year, the Fostering Network found that only 1 in 5 people aged 18 - 25 thought they would be accepted as foster carers were they to apply in the next 2 years.
We'd love to change this misconception.
So here are 4 reasons why younger people make great foster carers too:
Younger foster carers may not be able to bring as much life experience to the role, they are often able to better understand some of the modern challenges faced by young people today. From cyber-bullying and Meow Meow to Snapchat and the new way to do long multiplication (anyone?!), younger foster carers may be able to spot trouble more quickly and relate to problems more easily than older carers.
2. In It For The Long-Term
Long-term fostering is being considered more and more as a viable permanency option for children. For a child that comes into care at 3 years old that means they need to live with their foster family for at least 15 years. Whilst many people do a great job continuing to foster children into their 60’s, they’d probably be the first to agree that it’s a lot easier managing those difficult teenage years as a 40 something!
3. Ready Made Peer Support
Many people choose to start a family between the ages of 25 – 35, and people who foster younger (whether they have children of their own or not) tend to already have a wider group of friends with children still living at home. Children are children, whether fostered or your own, and being around other people who are going similar experiences as you are can be an immense source of support and advice, not to mention a ready-made social network for you and the kids.
4. Great Learners
25 – 35 is a great time for learning and developing your craft, no matter what it is that you do. Younger people are generally very receptive to training and change, interested in taking on new ideas and learning new skills, all of which you have to do as a foster carer.
So if you are between the ages of 25 - 34 and think you would like to foster then please, don't count yourself out, don't assume anything, just find out more about fostering today because younger people make great foster carers too!
If you are between the age of 25 and 34 and are interested in finding out more about becoming a foster carer Family Fostercare would love to hear from you.