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Men Who Foster

Hello, my name is Asrat, I’m a male foster carer, when I became a carer I told my youngest brother about it and he said to me, when he thinks of fostering, older women or elderly retired couple come to his mind but he never thought younger single men would be interested or involved.

I think these sorts of views are expressed because it’s mistakenly believed that women are best suited to handle the challenges of fostering and naturally more caring than men. I believe men are equally capable of handling challenges and can be caring as well.

As a male foster carer since 2013 I have had challenging times which I have managed well and have also been providing very good care to my young person in care.

“Rewards and challenges are part and parcel of fostering”

I used to work at my local council before I became a foster carer. That is where I got involved with the council’s fostering office working with unaccompanied asylum seekers from different parts of the world. I came to know about fostering there and had a chance to work with some social workers. It was fulfilling and satisfying being able to help others. I decided to be a full time foster carer and opened my doors to a child to give him a warm and friendly home. Fostering is rewarding when I see the positive differences I made in a child’s life after he had stayed with me.  And it can also be challenging when a child, for different reasons doesn’t want to engage with me and refuses to be helped.

“My supervising social worker is a phone call away for any query I may have.”

Rewards and challenges are part and parcel of fostering. Fostering in my opinion is a noble profession because it involves shaping a child’s life into becoming a productive and successful citizen. It requires resilience and lots of patience. Thankfully I have GLF’s full support whenever I need it. I have been getting relevant training and my supervising social worker is a phone call away for any query I may have.

All in all, my fostering journey since 2013 has taught me some valuable lessons. I have learned to be more patient and understanding.  If there are any men out there wondering about fostering, I encourage you to consider it seriously, you will not be disappointed.

I’m single, what if I meet the right person whilst a foster carer?

‘I love fostering and I’ve done it now for 15 years mostly as a single parent after my first marriage broke down. I was never really interested in meeting someone else and then of course as they always say, when I least expected it, I met Ian,’ said Kerry, from Devon.

Kerry’s situation is not unique. We encourage foster carers from all walks of life and all different family make-ups so for us there isn’t a typical family that is most suited to fostering.

But taking care of a foster child will affect your whole family, no matter what your connection to them, so we do need to make sure they are involved in the approval process. This doesn’t just apply to people living in the household or your partner – you also need to consider your wider family. If they will be around to help you, baby sit or take the children out on day trips or to parties then we have to check their background in a similar way to yours, although the approval process is not as extensive.

If you’re planning for a new partner to spend time with your foster children, he or she must have a background check and cannot stay overnight in the same home as any children you foster while this is going through. The process can take a little while so you and your new partner must be prepared to be a little patient too.

Kerry said: ‘I am always aware that whoever I am fostering may already have had a lot of adults coming in and out of their lives so it’s really important to me that I offer them a sense of stability. We understood the legal requirement of ensuring Ian’s background was checked out but more importantly for us, we needed to think about how best to introduce him to my foster kids.’

As well as taking you through the legal approval process, GLF can offer advice and support on how introduce a foster child to any new family member.

Kerry added, ‘The kids love Ian now and he’s added a whole new dimension to the support and care that I can provide to them. Being a bit patient was the right thing to do for both us and them.’