Steve Shares his Experience of being a Male Foster Carer
At first, it didn’t matter to me that I was going to be a male foster carer, I was just going to be a foster carer but now I understand just how important it is.
“At first, it didn’t matter to me that I was going to be a male foster carer, I was just going to be a foster carer but now I understand just how important it is.”
Steven is an electrical engineering lecturer and has been fostering with his partner, Jill, since September 2022.
The Scottish foster carers now look after one little boy, a ‘curious and cheeky’ 10-year-old and are based in Bathgate. He’s the first foster child that they have looked after, and they both balance his care between working full time at a local college.
So, why foster? Steven said: “We talked about fostering for quite a number of years and then we just took the plunge and went for it. We just wanted to try and give someone a better start in life or to change their circumstances.”
Why male foster carers are so important:
For Steven, giving someone a better start isn’t limited to their physical needs but also extends to being a positive male role model for his foster child.
Male foster carers are incredibly important for a variety of reasons, but especially with the decrease in Scottish foster care households (down 4.8% in December 2022 from 2021).
Boys and young men in the foster system may not have any good male influences in their lives, and this can prove to be pivotal for young people who may identify more with and learn from male role models. The diversity that male foster carers can bring to the role can also help provide different and balanced perspectives for young people needing guidance and support.
“I thought I could be someone to look up to. At first, it didn’t matter to me that I was going to be a male foster carer, I was just going to be a foster carer but now I understand just how important it is. Not just for a child that might be in your care, but also for the entire fostering community. The sooner we can normalise men fostering, the sooner we can be rid of stigma and the sooner we can get more positive father figures for vulnerable young people.”
Small Acorns grow to mighty oaks:
Steven is also part of a group, Acorns, where male foster carers and their foster children gather to socialise. Thanks to Steven’s help, the group now meets at one of the local colleges to take part in activities that require more specialist equipment. It gives them the opportunity to do things like cooking, joinery, motor vehicle maintenance and repair and beauty therapy.
He described Acorns as being a safe place for carers and foster children.
“Sometimes people see fostering as a ‘woman’s job’, and it can be a difficult thing to do, even without all of the stigma. For me, one of the best parts of Acorns is that a group of men, all foster carers, can meet up, have a chat, and even rant if they need to, to people that ‘get it’. All while enjoying really valuable bonding time with their foster child. We have something really special and I feel grateful to be a part of it.”
Shona Shares her Experience of Working & Fostering
January 23 2024
Shona, 34, is a primary school teacher, and alongside husband Andrew, she’s been fostering since 2020. Shona loves fostering, and balances working full time alongside raising her two foster children and her birth son.
"I wasn't ready not to be a mum anymore."
September 19 2023
Alison is a mother and a grandmother. She started her fostering journey in 2017 and has had several young people in her care over the last 6 years.
“It’s good to know everyone’s culture. If it’s important to the child or their family, then we do what we need to do.”
July 5 2023
Super parents, Maryelen and Billy, share their inspiring story which has led them to foster over 50 children and create a charity close to their hearts.
“You get to take these children in and give them better hope for the future”
June 15 2023
Foster dad John shares his love for fostering and family life.
“I kept thinking I’m good at caring for people and I’d love to give a child a loving home”
May 16 2023
As a single woman in her 60s, and with her own children all grown up, Jane now had the time and focus to care for a foster child. She shares her inspiring story.
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