Combining Fostering With Other Paid Work
It is possible to combine fostering with other paid work. This is especially true because there are so many different kinds of fostering that you can do. Many people combine fostering with other paid work to maintain a regular income or just because they enjoy external working. However, there are important issues to bear in mind if you are considering combining fostering with other paid work.
Different Kinds of FosteringFostering does not always mean having a foster child full-time or over a long period of time, although this is possible. There are other types of fostering such as emergency relief where foster care is needed for just a few nights. There are other short-term forms of fostering such as respite care and short breaks. Therefore, in some cases it’s possible to carry on other paid work whilst foster caring. For example, you could work part-time, flexibly or on a self-employed basis at another type of work.
According to the latest statistics from the fostering charity, Fostering Network, 80 per cent of foster carers in the UK don’t work full-time but 34 per cent do still work in some form outside of foster caring.
Is Fostering a “Job”?Although, for many, fostering children is a vocation, rather than a job like any other, it is also increasingly being viewed as an occupation as well. This is because it often requires a specific set of skills and level of expertise and also in many cases means the foster carer can’t take on other work.
Some fostering services require foster carers to have highly specialised skills, and gaining them often means undertaking specialist training. Due to factors such as the skill level required, the time commitment and to financial necessity, many are calling for foster caring to be recognised as a job and be financially rewarded accordingly. Charities such as the Fostering Network are calling for foster carers to be paid a comparable rate to other childcare professionals. However, at the same time, these organisations recognise that for foster carers, their work helping young people will always be more than just a ‘job’.
Issues to Bear in MindIf you feel that combining external paid work with foster caring might suit you, there are some important issues to bear in mind.
Some fostering agencies stipulate that their foster carers can’t have another job whilst they are registered to foster. This will mean that even when you don’t have a foster placement you won’t be able to take up paid work.
At the same time, some fostering services do pay a retainer fee so that you are paid something even when you are not fostering, as long as you are available to take a foster child.
Carrying on paid work whilst registered to be a foster carer could have an impact on the types of placements you can accept.
If you’re thinking of foster caring and continuing to work, it could be worth discussing the issue with your employer and seeing what flexible working practices they could potentially offer.