Although many foster carers receive financial assistance, it is not always sufficient to support a family. Thus, you may be wondering whether you can foster and work at the same time.

It is certainly possible to combine fostering with another form of paid work. This is especially true as there are many different kinds of fostering that can be done. In fact, many people combine fostering with paid work so as to maintain a regular income or even simply because they enjoy working.

However, it is important to bare in mind that there are important factors to consider if you are contemplating combining fostering with other paid work.

Combining foster care with work

With fostering, it is almost impossible to have a go to ready-made answer: each individual case is unique. However, with the help of your fostering agency, and depending on the needs of your foster children, you will be able to gage whether or not you can work and cater to the needs of your children.

The most important thing to consider when answering this question is the fact that having another job should never impede a foster carers’ ability to carry out their role as a parent, as the child’s needs must always come first.

Due to their age or needs, some children require foster carers to be at home and available at all times. This is likely to be the case, for instance, if you are fostering babies, pre-school children or kids with complex needs or demanding behaviours. It is also the case for foster carers who specialise in short term or relief placements, who need to be available while their foster child settles in and adjusts to being in foster care, after having only recently being removed from their homes and families. Your ability to work may also be hindered if you decide to foster multiple children as you will have more responsibilities.

Older children or those who have who have settled into their foster families are more likely to be able to adapt to their foster carers working on a part time or even full time basis, there are indeed many instances in which this happens successfully.

Important Considerations

If you decide that you would like to foster, but would also like to continue with other paid work, you will need to make that your fostering agency allows it, as certain fostering agencies may stipulate that their foster carers cannot be in full time employment while registered to foster with them. It is important to note that this even includes times when you don’t have a foster placement.

You will also need to ensure that your workplace is flexible and understanding of your needs as a foster parent: without this flexibility, carers and their foster children may struggle. For instance, in many cases, only the foster parent is allowed to pick up a child from school (thus you absolutely have to make sure that your work is flexible enough to let you go in case of an emergency, a meeting, an appointment with the agency etc.).

Obviously, if both your fostering agency and place of work were to agree to this arrangement, it would also be essential to ask your foster child whether or not they were comfortable with you working full time.

If you have any more questions about fostering and taking on paid work, to get in touch with us – we’d be delighted to hear from you.