Some tips and tricks for getting childcare experience that’ll benefit your application and family finding
Childcare experience demonstrates your ability to meet a child’s needs. Experience with children is essential to your application for adoption or fostering.
Tips for gaining childcare experience:
- Ask friends and family
Probably the simplest solution, look after children of your friends and family. They get a free babysitter. You get the experience you need. Social workers are keen to see routine or overnight care for children. This could be a weekly pick-up from school or babysitting while the parents are out of town for the weekend.
- Volunteer for community groups
Volunteer for local community groups such as pre-schools, churches and parent-toddler groups. Try after-school clubs, reading schemes or even become a mentor (although this tends to be for older children). Volunteer centres can help you find suitable volunteering experience. Find your local centre by searching ‘Volunteer Centre’ and the name of your area, e.g. ‘Volunteer Centre Leicester’.
Due to the COVID pandemic, a lot of schools reduced the amount of visitors allowed indoors. Consider volunteering for sports and activity clubs held outdoors. These could be forest schools, scouts, gardening, etc.
- Similar age-range
Aim to look after children in the age bracket you hope to adopt. This demonstrates an understanding of the mental and physical development a child of this age might have.
- Similar family structure
Find families with a similar LGBT+ structure to yours. Spend time with these families and children to gain an understanding of the dynamic and children’s knowledge of family. This also helps you build a support network of familiar families for when you grow your family.
- Spend time with other looked-after children
Spending time with other adoptive families or groups for looked-after children helps you gain an integral understanding of looked-after children. This gives you can idea of the types of needs and difficulties your own child could have. However, if a child is still in care, you can’t look after them without their foster carer remaining present.
- Children with additional needs
Caring for children with additional needs requires certain skills. Having experience in this can benefit your decision-making process. It can help you work out whether you could meet the needs of a child with additional needs. If so, this experience can demonstrate to the panel and family finders that you’re the best carer for a child.
- Contact agencies
Talk to your agency about the best way to gain childcare experience. Often agencies run in-house activities you can volunteer at. Events like family fun days or stay and plays could be a great opportunity to gain that vital experience.
You can also volunteer at our annual New Family Social summer camp. Lots of families attend and it's a great place to access some childcare experience.
Contact us for information