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I have dogs and other pets - can I still be a foster carer?

January 25, 2019 | matt

So, you’ve got two dogs, three cats, a parrot and a chicken.  And ten goldfish.  Can you still foster?

Providing your dogs are not proscribed by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, YES you can foster.  You should consider how your pets might respond to a new member of the household, but if that’s no concern then all you need is a spare bedroom and the time to support a young person.

Foster Carers comes from all walks of life and many of them have dogs or other pets.  Risk assessments will be completed for your pets by your social worker as part of the fostering assessment, with the key points being;

- How and where are the animals to be kept?
- Will they be accessible to the foster child?
- What will be the risks to the health and safety of the child?
- How would the foster carer feel/react if their animals were ‘hurt’ by the child?

If you have more than three dogs (defining a ‘pack’), either a specialist dog behavioural risk assessment must be completed or Veterinary references obtained.  Ultimately, the safety of the child must be paramount.

Additional caution may be needed where very young children are placed e.g. parent and child placements and children under 5.  The size of a dog and whether the dog has lived with children or has experience of children is important, and carers should always be able to supervise both the child and their dog(s).

But we can’t talk about dogs or pets in general without talking about the obvious benefits they bring when matched appropriately to a young person.

Dogs may be a woman’s best friend now, but they have been human companions for thousands of years.  They offer unconditional affection – expecting nothing in return for wanting to cuddle and kiss and smooch all over you.  Dogs also keep you active by getting out a few times a day for the essentials, opening the door to responsible care-giving for young people which can be hugely beneficial to them.

And it’s not just dogs.  Cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and all manner of domesticated animals can be positive for children.  They are little members of the family who want to love and be loved.  By just playing with or cuddling our pets, we can benefit from the soothing, calming effect of their company.  They can help us cope with symptoms of fear, depression, anxiety and other emotions that follow a traumatic experience.

So, if your dog isn’t on the dangerous breed list – there’s no need to paws.  Get in touch today for a chat and find out more about becoming a foster carer.

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Healing Pasts | Building Futures
Since 1988

foster@family-care.co.uk
0800 5 677 677
 

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