If you are interested in becoming a foster carer for your local authority or independent agency, there are certain prerequisites that you must meet. You must be aged 21+, a citizen or permanent resident, and have enough spare time on your hands to do the work. You must also have a spare bedroom at home for the foster children you take in.
There are certain minimum standards that the spare room must meet, but they are manageable for the most part. However, it will be expected that the foster carer makes the room seem welcoming to children. Let’s discuss what are the requirements and expectations next.
Foster Children Above the Age of 3 Must Have Their Own Room
Every foster child must have their own room. That means, a child in care should not be sharing that bedroom in your home with you, your children, other foster children, or anyone else for that matter. Only exceptions to that rule are made when:
- A child has special needs that make such an arrangement risky or unrealistic for the child.
- The foster children are young siblings, and the local authority agrees to make an exception based on that fact.
There are several reasons why it is mandatory for every foster child to have a spare bedroom of their own, but they are not the same for all of them. Some of those reasons will vary based on the child’s age, social background, and past experiences, but the rule of one child per room remains constant, barring the exceptions mentioned. As long as you are able to provide that extra room, you can apply for fostering in Enfield.
The Room Must be Safe for the Child to Stay and Sleep In
This is where the requirements will vary a lot, depending on multiple factors such as a child’s age, height, special needs, medical needs, etc. For example, a mid-teen foster child will need a bigger room than a 4-year-old. Similarly, a child who is tall for his/her age may need a bigger bed than what you have in the room to sleep comfortably. If you are fostering a toddler, the entire room must be made child-proof to keep the child from getting hurt.
Therefore, the bottom line is that as a foster carer, you must make sure the room is adequate for the specific child you take in. Since it is both difficult and expensive to change things every time a new foster child moves in, some foster carers choose to work with children in the same age bracket. Nevertheless, minor adjustments will still need to be made at times.
The Room’s Décor Should Seem Welcoming to the Children
This is another reason why most foster carers tend to work with children belonging to the same age bracket. The kind of room décor a 6-year-old child will find welcoming may make a 15-year-old feel out of place and awkward. When you work with foster children of similar ages, you avoid such problems.
It’s best to stick to the basics while preparing your spare room for a foster child if you are a short-term care provider. The last child may have loved the goofy animals on the wall, but that doesn’t mean the next child will like them too. Talk to your fostering agency if you need help in deciding on a more universal décor for a specific age bracket.
That being said, you can start personalising the room’s décor to a child’s specific preferences, if he/she is under your long-term care. If you become a long-term care provider, the same child/children will stay with you till they reach adulthood.