Posted: Monday 13th September 2021
Can you combine childminding with fostering? There are various views (but no rules) on combining childminding and fostering and here’s why.
- As a childminder you have excellent experience of caring for other people’s children
- You are available at home during the day
- You attend the same safeguarding and paediatric first aid training as foster carers, so your training is transferrable.
- Your home is safe for children
- Your knowledge is up to date on the latest childcare advice
- You are organized with paperwork and keeping records
- We will have to match the foster children with you carefully so that the foster child and childminding children are compatible and you can meet the needs of all the children that you care for.
- You will need to juggle wearing two hats; keeping your customers happy and meeting the needs of a foster child.
- The age range of children or type of fostering that you do, might be limited.
- You may need to reduce your numbers that you childmind. You need to be able to fit everyone in the car!
- Children in foster care will have lots of meetings and appointments to manage.
- The foster child may not attend your local school, and we expect foster carers to do the school run so you might need some help to juggle the different pick-ups and drop-offs.
our foster carer’s experience of combining childminding
“From childminding to fostering seems like a natural progression. Some parents of my childminding children found the behaviours of some of the children I fostered very overwhelming and unacceptable so took their children to other minders. Some of the children I minded found the children I fostered very loud, unpredictable, destructive and uncaring so asked their parents to remove them. I find fostering very rewarding as I feel I make a difference to the lives of the children I care for.” Foster carer and former childminder
“I had one parent who complained that there always seemed to be a social worker in the house when she came to collect her child from me. When I mentioned to the parents that I was going into fostering, a couple of them thought that I would spend more time on the foster children. It was difficult to fit in meetings. It is also important to keep the foster child's bedroom out of bounds and to understand that they may not like other children to play with their toys or touch their belongings. I had to shorten my childminding day in the end so that I could fit in swimming lessons, brownies etc with the foster child. Also you will have to take into account the child/adult ratio depending on the ages.” Foster Carer and Childminder
what the childminding and fostering inspectors say…
Childminders and fostering services are inspected by the same organisation Care Inspectorate Wales.
“We have had child minders’ who are also Foster Carers and this is reflected in number of children they are registered to care for on their certificate of registration. They also are required to inform CIW either in their application to register as a Child Minder or if it’s a new arrangement since their registration – then again, they would be required to inform CIW. Information as to whether a child minder is a foster carer does need to be included in the Statement of Purpose. It is included under Standard 1.2 of the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Child Care re contents of the document.” Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW)
combining respite fostering and childminding
“Whilst I have been childminding for the last 3 ½ years, I have also been a respite foster carer along with my husband. This brought many challenges…. Firstly I found when I approached my childminding parents to explain that I had become a foster carer and sometimes the care would cross over with my childminding hours some parents were a little reluctant, I felt they thought I would be fostering ‘challenging’ children and they didn’t want their little one to become involved with the foster children. I picked up on this very quickly especially with one parent, however I was able to reassure her and when she met the foster children she was relieved and happy to realise that they were actually ‘normal’… there is definitely a stigma and I can totally understand why this parent felt this way also. They were a lot happier when they realised my husband would be around to help also.
I found my childminding children welcomed the foster children with open arms and really looked forward to seeing them especially my older mindees. I did not find a problem whatsoever with my child-minding children. However my foster children could act differently on numerous occasions, the older child would try to ‘mother’ my very young childminding mindees. She would try and pick them up and discipline them, as if she was their mummy. Sometimes this made me feel uncomfortable and I made sure I was always around and I would explain that I look after the little ones until their parents arrive. However I did also find the older child would play so lovely with the younger children and really liked to help me out.
Equally I found the youngest foster child would get very jealous at times and again I always made sure I was present and never left the children alone. I found my foster children could easily get jealous and would be very needy for my attention, then as soon as my mindees were collected they totally relaxed and they knew they had my total attention.
I would say that it always helped to have my husband around when I was working as a childminder so he could give our foster children the attention they needed. In my limited experience I do feel being a childminder and trying to foster together brings many many challenges, this may have felt different if I had been a full time foster carer but certainly as a respite carer it could at times be quite challenging.” Respite foster carer and childminder
so what are your options?
- Foster a child full time who fits with the children that you child-mind.
- Foster babies, if your fostering service has a high need for this.
- Foster part-time (respite) at weekends and arrange dates when fostering fits better.
- Have understanding childminding clients
- Have support from your partner
- Do it gradually, keeping the demands of fostering/child-minding manageable.
different views depending on who you foster with
Surrey : childminders-urged-foster-children
Cumbria and Doncaster : fost_who_are_chldmind.html
Fostering agencies: Some independent fostering agencies will ask you to give up work to foster with them.
Combining childminding and fostering could would work very successfully for one person and be very difficult for another – this will all depend on the children that you are caring for in both roles. It will be challenging to juggle the demands of both. But fostering can use your skills developed in childminding to make a huge difference to child who has missed out on the happy childhood that other children take for granted.