Fostering as a profession.
People often hold misconceptions on the foster carer industry. The industry is often romanticised and over-simplified. Although a strong sense of philanthropy is necessary to become a successful foster carer, many remain unaware of the earning potential and career benefits of fostering as a profession.
The Fostering Network estimates that 9, 070 foster families are urgently needed across the UK to meet a growing demand. Through a combination of austerity, rising inflation and deteriorating wage-growth thousands of families are being forced below an adequate level of income. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) 7.3% of the UK’s population now live in persistent poverty. The intensifying levels of poverty have contributed towards an increase in familial breakdowns and a rise in the number of children in care. Despite the need for more foster carers agencies have been reluctant to advertise the potential career benefits of fostering. Prospective foster carers have been discouraged from pursuing their interest further due to financial concerns. Fostering agencies would have more success recruiting if they prioritised the advertising of fostering as a profession, not a vocation.
Recently more people have been making foster care their source of full-time employment. In a nationwide recruitment drive, foster care has been increasingly financially incentivised. On average a prospective foster carer can expect to earn up to £420 a week per child. Most agencies also offer free training courses and qualifications which could potentially increase your earnings further. Likewise, if you specialise in an aspect of the care industry, for example fostering children with disabilities, you are more likely to receive higher fees. Through progression and incremental pay-rises a clear career-pathway is becoming prevalent in the fostering industry. More needs to be done to advertise this.
Foster care is an extremely rewarding career. You get to provide vital care for the most vulnerable children in our society. Through compassion and empathy, you can watch them develop into remarkable young people. Foster carers derive immense satisfaction from this process. In a corporate age it is often difficult to see what benefit you are making to society. Now, because of the increased earning potential of foster care, it is possible to have both a morally and financially rewarding career.
In September 2016 The Foster Care Workers Branch was officially launched to protect the employment rights of foster carers in the UK. The Foster Care Workers Branch is campaigning for increased allowances, regulated retainer fees and further emancipatory measures. The Fostering Network is also petitioning the government for increased wage parity with other professionals in the health care sector. Through the work of prominent organisations there is now a national awareness of the highly professional and admirable work foster carers are doing across the UK. Foster carers today are offered more security and support than ever before.