Foster Carer

World Mental Health Day 2018: Can I foster if I had a history of mental health issues?

One of the key question Sunbeam Fostering asks to any prospective foster carer is are you in good health, do you have any current or previous significant physical/mental health issues?

Foster carers are expected to be in good health and whether you can become a foster parent if you have health problems largely depends upon the severity and type of the problem. However health issues including mental health don’t automatically prevent you from becoming one of our valued foster carer.

As per mental health charity mind.org.uk, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Their website also states, in England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. This shows how prevalent is mental health issues in the society and we would like to shed more light onto the prospect of fostering if you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health problem.

Sunbeam Fostering’s rule of thumb in recruiting foster carers is to recruit carers who can provide stability to children coming to their homes. Even though there are exceptions, foster children often come from disadvantaged or abusive backgrounds. They have already been through so much in their little lives so it is important that they are placed within a safe, secure and loving home. Having a mental health issue isn’t automatically going to affect your chances of being accepted however if the mental health issues you are dealing with could affect your ability to provide this stability then this may affect your chances of being accepted.

During your application stage Sunbeam Fostering will consider a number of factors including whether you are taking any medications to manage your condition, how long you have had the problem, what type of issue you’re dealing with and the severity of your condition. As part of the application process we require an adult health check called AH1 to be completed by your GP. The purpose of this check is for Sunbeam Fostering to make a decision whether you are fit enough to look after and meet the needs of, the children in your care.

Overall, providing your mental or physical illness will not compromise your ability to be an excellent carer, you have just as much chance as anybody else to be accepted! We don’t automatically reject an application purely because of an existing or past illness. If you are thinking of fostering, we do encourage you to contact us to discuss your individual circumstances.