There is a lot to think about when considering becoming a foster carer. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions we’ve seen. If you would like any further information, or have any other questions please get in touch.
Fostering is a way of offering children and young people a home when their own family are unable to look after them. This can be for a variety of reasons, from temporary illness to issues such as abuse within their home or the death of a primary carer. Fostering can be on a temporary basis lasting for one or two days. It can last for a few months or in certain cases years. Foster carers provide children with safe, stable homes for as long as they are needed.
Fostering is temporary whereas adoption is permanent. Adoptive parents become legally responsible for a child or young person until 18 and adopted children loses all legal ties with their “birth parents” and usually take their new family’s name.
Yes – some include emergency care, short-term and long-term fostering.
Foster carer allowances are often higher with agencies and they typically offer more support and opportunities with to develop your career in specialist areas such as therapeutic fostering. Typically, older children are more challenging for local authorities to place so agencies often place them.
No, we will provide you with all the training you need. Carers are expected to participate in ongoing training courses to develop their skills. You can find out about the training and support standards for foster carers on the government website.
You have to be at least 21 years of age to foster with us.
No – you can be single, in a partnership, married or in a relationship. However, it is crucial that any relationship you are in is stable.
Yes. We welcome all applicants regardless of their sexual orientation or gender status.
No – as long as you are committed and can meet the demands of being a foster care your age does not matter. In fact, older people often have more experience, adding to their ability to be great foster carers.
You need to have a strong desire to support children to achieve their potential. You must have a spare room for a child or young person in your home (unless it is a baby).
You do not need to own your own home to foster.
Yes, however, they will be assessed as part of the application process to ensure they do not pose a risk to the child.
Yes, while childcare experience can be helpful it Is not essential. If you have transferrable skills that coupled with our training and support will be all you need.
You should only apply to foster when you are in the home you intend to live in with the child as home assessments are an important part of the application process for safety checks, etc.
No, but you do have to be a full-time resident or have leave to remain.
All foster carers will need a good level of written and spoken English, but it does not have to be your first language. This is so they can communicate with other professionals about the needs of a child as well as keep records – which is a very important part of the job of fostering. However, foster carers from all backgrounds who speak other languages are great for children whose first language is not English and often make for a great match.
Yes, they will be considered in the application and placement process. Many children report that they find it rewarding and have learnt much from their parents being foster carers.
You will always have a final say about who to foster. We ask foster carers to state their preferences (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) in the application process but once approved, carers are eligible to look after children aged 0-18 of both genders. We will always try and match your preferences; however, if you have very specific preferences and are inflexible about these then you might have to wait longer for a placement.
We will always share all the information we have with a child about you. Usually this includes a referral from the council. However, in emergency placements there often isn’t much information available right away but it will be shared with you once it is received.
When a foster child comes into a new home, it is a period of change and adjustment for all concerned. Sometimes it just takes a little time. However, if difficulties start to arise, it is important these are discussed early with your supervising social worker as support or training can sometimes help make a difference. If there is a real, continued problem with a particular placement and it is not working out, you will not be expected to continue.
Yes, but only children over 5 who do not have any health conditions that it could effect. As foster carers set an example for children, you should always avoid smoking in their presence and never in a car or your home.
No, but it does generally make things a lot easier as children will have to go to school, different meetings, appointments, etc.
Yes, this will be considered when looking at your application and will depend on the degree and nature of your disability. A medical check is always part of the approval process. This will be taken on a case by case basis to ensure you can meet the needs of the child without damaging your own health.
Yes, but as with any children this will be considered in the application process to ensure you can balance the needs of your own child and a new foster child coming into your home. This will be taken on a case by case basis.
Yes, this will be considered when looking at your application and will depend on the degree and nature of your depression. The medical check for all applicants will look at this. This will be taken on a case by case basis to ensure you can meet the needs of the child without damaging your own health and well-being.
This would be taken on a case by case basis depending on the nature of your offence. If you have a conviction relating to an offence against children or a sexual offence then you will not legally be allowed to foster while a minor conviction will probably not affect your application. It is important that you disclose all convictions when applying. We also perform an enhance criminal record check for all applicants.
On average it takes between four to six months to become an approved carer.
A supervising social worker will support you through every stage of the application process. With their help, you will produce a detailed report known as a Form F. When completed, this will be presented to the Fostering Panel who will consider your assessment and make a recommendation regarding your approval as a foster carer. The Panel is made up of people with varied and in-depth experience of all the various aspects of fostering.
Once you become an approved carer we will look for a suitable match. However, the amount of time until your first placement will vary as we don’t want to rush it and work hard to ensure we find a suitable first match.
Yes, you can also transfer from a Local Authority.
There is no cost to making an application to be a foster carer or for any of the training or support we offer.
All foster carers are paid a weekly fostering allowance to cover the full costs of caring for a child (i.e. clothing, food, pocket money, travel and their leisure activities).
You don’t have to pay tax on the first £10,000 income earned from fostering. There is more information regarding tax, national insurance and benefits for foster carers on the government website.
No and our placements team work hard keep gaps between placements to a minimum.
You can train to become a therapeutic foster carer as they receive an enhanced rate because they are caring for children with challenging behaviour and complex needs.
Yes, but many foster carers prefer to foster full-time, so they are always available to meet the needs of the child they are caring for (i.e. attending meetings, taking part in training, etc.).
Yes, but it is important that these are resolved, so you are able to provide a stable home a child and to show that you are able to manage the fostering allowance you receive.