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A look at fostering in Harrow

In the UK, there are around 85,000 children in the care system; many of whom come from homes where neglect and abuse are the norm.

Councils – including Harrow – are constantly crying out for people to give these children a safe home and, in this article, we’re looking at fostering in our borough.

What is fostering ?

Unlike adoption, whereby a couple or individual gives a child a permanent home, fostering is a short term solution for children in the care system. The child will live with the foster parent(s) for an unspecified length of time – in some cases, until an adoptive couple is found, the child can be returned to its parents or the child reaches the age of 18. There are approximately 43,400 fostering households in the UK.

Fostering in Harrow

Becoming a foster carer can be incredibly rewarding – but it also requires patience, understanding and hard work. It’s important to remember that a foster child may have a history of abuse or neglect and will bring with him or her all of the trauma that has resulted from this treatment.

If you feel that the role of foster carer might be a good fit for you, you will need to tick a few boxes in terms of criteria. A foster parent needs to:

  • Be over the age of 18
  • Be in good health
  • Have no child related criminal offences
  • Be able to provide a suitable home environment (this will usually include being able to provide the foster child with his or her own bedroom)

Foster carers come from all walks of life and include any sex or gender, any family setup, any employment status and any home status (i.e. homeowner or tenant).

While foster parents don’t “get paid” as such, they do receive an allowance of around £24,500 per year to be used to pay for the child’s requirements and maintenance.

Getting started

If you’re confident that you fit the criteria above you should, in the first instance, head over to the Harrow Council website where you will find an online form to be filled in. Before doing so, you should make sure that you have all necessary identification documents to hand as these may be requested.

Processing of applications can take a while so you’ll get plenty of practice in patience but, as thousands of foster carers will testify, it will be well worth the wait for you and your foster child(ren).