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The Ideal Time for a Fresh Fostering Start in 2024

As we approach 2024, this is the opportune moment to embark on your fostering journey. But how can you determine if it's the perfect timing for you?

January 2 2024 - 5 min read

As 2024 approaches, now is the ideal time to start your fostering journey. So, how do you know it’s the right time for you?

The saying goes, “new year, new me,” and what better way to become a new ‘you’ than to open your home to a child who is in need of a safe space? Becoming a foster parent or foster carer for the first time can be a daunting thought, but there are many signs that point toward 2024 being the time you create space in your home for a child or adolescent who is currently in the care system.

Foster parents play a critical role in allowing a child or adolescent to grow and experience childhood in a safe, warm space. So, if you’re wondering about fostering, prepare to make the leap in 2024, armed with the information below to help you feel confident with your decision.

new foster parent

Understanding the Difference Fostering Types

No child is the same, so no fostering type is the same either. There is a range of different fostering types to suit a range of homes and families. These include short-term fostering, where a child may stay for a night or two, or up to two years. There is also long-term fostering, along with emergency fostering.

In Scotland, there is also permanence order fostering. Permanence order fostering is a home for a child until they reach 18 as they are unable to go home.

Take the time to assess every type to find out which one suits you best. (shall we add link to different types of fostering page?)

Factors Influencing the Ideal Time

It can be argued that there is no ‘perfect’ time to do anything in life, which especially relates to parenting and caring for children and young people. While there’s no ‘perfect’ time, some vital factors that could point towards now being the ideal time for you could include:

  • You understand the process of becoming a foster carer. By doing your due diligence with research, understanding what types of fostering you can help with, and speaking to specialist agencies, you will be able to check this one off the list.
  • Your family understands your decision and is comfortable with it. Discussing your decision with every family member, individually and as a family unit, will enable you to come to terms with becoming a foster family. Some family members may have reservations and require extra time to come around to the idea, but only through open and honest communication will a resolution be found.
  • You are ready to learn. Becoming a foster parent isn’t as simple as signing up and creating a bedroom for the child in your home. Instead, you will need training under your belt, especially if you are fostering a child with complex needs. If you’re ready to jump back into learning mode, you can take this as a sign that 2024 is your year to foster.
  • You can be flexible in your schedule. While foster carers can work while fostering, it is advised that you have time in your daily schedule to provide support to a foster child effectively. You may need to attend medical appointments, counselling, school discussion, and more. Therefore, if you have time to be able to undertake all these extra responsibilities, this is your sign.
  • You understand holistic approaches not only to parenting but also to self-care for yourself. Parenting is hard work! You will face periods of difficulty and hard times, especially if your foster child has a traumatic background. Holistic approaches to parenting include being democratic in conflict and celebrating simple times. What’s more, holistic self-care for a foster carer can consist of managing emotions and getting sufficient rest daily. If you’re ready to embrace self-care and parent in a new way, this is a sign you’re ready.
  • You can go with the flow. Fostering isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. You need to be able to shake off the bad times and dance in the good times with your foster child. If you are confident you can do so, this is your sign to foster in 2024.

Rewards of Fostering

If you’re ready to jump into fostering in 2024, don’t forget about the rewards not only your foster child will enjoy but the rewards that will come to your family also.

  • Your foster child will have a safe, loving, stable home environment. This helps them grow into confident, happy adults.
  • Your foster child may experience their first taste of family life, especially if you have children living at home still. If your foster child has a traumatic start to life, they will benefit from experiencing a ‘normal’ home for the first time.
  • Your foster child will be able to experience stability at school, especially if you foster them long-term or foster a child with a permanence order. Often, children who move from school to school struggle academically. By being able to stay in one school for a long period, your foster child will no longer worry about leaving friends and disrupting studying, so they will naturally be able to concentrate more.

For the foster family, one key benefit is financial allowances. However, you will also benefit from professional training, enabling you to grow as a parent and carer in providing the best child support. You can also benefit from building loving bonds with your foster child. It can be upsetting for a foster child to move on from your care, but it is also gratifying to bond with a child and see them become happier and healthier, as well as being able to move onto bigger and brighter new horizons.

Becoming a foster carer is an incredible decision to make, one you should feel delighted and confident about. If the above has helped seal the deal for you and your family, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team to discuss the next steps.