If you have read this far, you are probably seriously considering becoming a foster carer and you may have lots of questions. We have compiled a list of our most commonly asked questions:
Becoming a foster carer
We work with a diverse community of foster carers. There are a few initial criteria that you’ll need to meet to qualify as a carer. You will need to be passionate about making a difference to children’s lives, be over the age of 21, have a furnished spare room, and be committed to undergoing training and development.
We do not rule out working foster carers, but would prefer one carer to be at home at least on a part time basis or have flexible working options. This is because professional fostering is demanding and foster carers are required to attend many meetings regarding the child or children they care for.
Renting does not exclude you from fostering; you will just need proof of a secure tenancy.
Foster Carers receive a weekly allowance which ranges upward of £418 per week per child, depending upon the needs of the child. Please see the payments and allowances page here for more information.
In short Yes! When considering which carers we place a child with, we carefully match a child’s needs with what you can offer. We take into careful consideration the needs of all children in the home and how it will affect their lives too.
The following checks are compulsory:
- Criminal Record Checks (DBS)
- Local Authority/Social Services check
- References from Employers (if applicable)
- Character References
- Health Assessment
- Health and safety check on your home
- Pet Questionnaire
- Proof of identity
- Driving licence
- Car Insurance
There are lots of different ways you can foster, some carers foster for a few weeks at a time and others foster full time.
Here’s a summary of some of the different types of foster care:
Short term foster care is when a child or young person comes to live with a foster family for a few weeks to several months. Long term foster care is where a child remains in a foster home until they reach adulthood. It’s likely that they’ll be brought up by one foster family over several years. Parent and child is a specialist foster carer that does regular observation of a parent and child. These carers assess and report on whether they are in tune with their emotional and physical needs, if they’re able to stick to a suitable routine in terms of feeding, naptimes etc. More information of different types of foster care placements can be found here.
Foster care provides vulnerable children with a temporary place to live when they’re unable to stay with their birth family. It’s not just giving children a place to stay – foster carers play an important role in shaping a child’s future. Whether a child is with you for two nights or two years, foster carers make a huge and lasting difference to the wellbeing of young people.
Here at Foster Careline we work as a team.
You will be allocated your own Supervising Social Worker to offer support and guidance. You will also have access to a telephone helpline 24 hours a day 7 days per week. You will have membership to the Fostering Network and Foster Talk, which are nationwide organisations that have been set up to specifically support Foster Carers.
We have regular Foster Carer Forums and Peer Mentoring. You will not be expected to cope alone. You will receive regular training and will be encouraged to contribute to our training agenda each year.
Your own support networks are also very important. You may have family or friends who can offer you regular support with childcare, collecting from school, babysitting etc.
Foster children need someone who is nurturing, patient and willing to help support them through their struggles. It doesn’t matter if you’re female, male, non-binary, straight, gay, single, married, divorced. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any experience in working with or living with children. We’re looking for dedicated, committed people who are passionate about changing children’s lives.
We start an assessment application procedure upon receipt of your application. This entails a two stage procedure. The first being all checks, e.g. police check, medical and references. The second stage entails visiting you in your home on about six occasions and talking to you and members of your family. The assessment takes about four months to complete. Find out more about the fostering application process here.
There are a number of reasons why children need foster care. It may be because of a family illness, family breakdown and problems at home or a situation where a child is at risk. Our foster carers provide a safe home for children who need one.
Applicants will be required to undergo a Criminal Records Check (DBS), this is a Government database check to review your suitability to be able to work with vulnerable groups, so we would expect you to discuss any previous or current convictions with us as soon as possible. Whilst a criminal record will not necessarily exclude you from applying, understanding your background is a crucial part of the assessment process for becoming a carer. If you or your partner have convictions relating to offences towards children or young people, you will not be able to foster.
Yes, basic ‘Skills to Foster’ training is usually provided over six three hourly sessions: which can be full days or evenings. There will be ongoing training during and after your approval. More information about our training programme can be found here.
The Foster Carer tax exemption scheme came into effect in April 2003. You will be exempt from tax as a self- employed person if your receipts do not exceed the qualifying amount, which is set at a relatively high rate. Very few foster carers are eligible to pay tax. We have staff who can discuss these matters with you in more detail. Please see the payments and allowances for more information.
Anyone living in your home or anyone who has contact on a regular basis and is over the age of 18 years will need a criminal record check. If you have a partner living with you or who stays regularly, they will also need to be part of the full assessment.