Sarah, 27 from Bromley, is typical of many young people in the UK. She works for a good firm but is stuck renting as she can’t raise the deposit she needs for a mortgage. While she is resigned to waiting to buy her own place, from a young age she has always wanted to look after children and didn’t want to put that dream on the back burner.
Sarah said: ‘I heard about fostering when I was at school and as I got older it began to feel like something I would be really good at. My life now is really stable – I have a great job, secure income and a lovely home – except it isn’t mine.’
The UK’s National Minimum Standards for Fostering asks for a foster child to have their own room, with few exceptions, and accommodation to be of a reasonable standard but makes no other stipulation about housing type. So as long as you have the space required and your landlord has given you approval to foster children in your home, your rental arrangements won’t prevent you from fostering. GLF can advise you on how best to broach the subject with your landlord if you’re worried that they might say no because they don’t properly understand what fostering entails.
It is important to remember though that while you will receive financial support from the government towards the cost of fostering children, fostering does not make you eligible for extra housing benefit. The good news though is that after a rethink the government will no longer apply the bedroom tax (officially known as the under occupancy penalty) to foster carers. This means that if you are in social housing and in receipt of housing benefit you will not have this payment reduced if you use one of the bedrooms for a foster child.
Sarah has now been approved to foster and looking forward to welcoming her first child into her home. ‘I might never be able to afford my own home but I’m so glad that hasn’t stopped me from pursuing fostering. I can’t wait to be a foster Mum.’