21 August 2023

Fostering and adoption in the North West – what support is available?

Fostering and adoption in the North West – what support is available?

Overview: An introduction to fostering and adoption in the North West, the support available, and how much foster parents get paid in Lancashire. Plus, advice to help you through the application process and information about what could disqualify you from being a foster parent.

What’s the difference between fostering and adoption?

Fostering is a rewarding career that can help you turn around the lives of the children you welcome into your home. There are several different types of fostering, and some may fit better with your family circumstances. At Foster Careline, we’ve been supporting foster carers since 2010. Though some foster families have gone on to adopt foster children, our focus is finding safe and nurturing homes for children and young people who come into foster care. Children and young people are usually referred into temporary foster care when they cannot safely live in their family home. The aim, in almost all cases, is to return them to their birth family. A small number of children do come into foster care with a plan for adoption. In this instance, the role of the foster carer is to look after the child and help their transition to their adoptive family once the legal adoption process is complete.

The main types of foster care

When it is not possible for children in temporary foster care to return home, they may stay in longer-term care or become adopted. The three main types of fostering are respite, short-term and long-term fostering. Long-term fostering is sometimes known as permanent fostering. If you decide to become a long-term foster carer, a child will usually stay with you for many years as part of your family. They might even stay with you until they reach adulthood. There’s a long-term commitment to looking after the child, but your role differs from that of an adoptive parent. This is because an adoptive parent holds full legal and financial responsibility.

Support for fostering and adoption in the North West

Whether you’re moving into the area or already live in the region and want to help positively change the lives of children in your area, we can offer specialised support and training when you join the Foster Careline team:

  • Our support for foster carers includes outstanding continuous training. Our programme includes essential and complementary training sessions that support your development as a foster carer and give you the confidence and skills to carry out a remarkable role.
  • Foster Careline foster carers have 24/7 access to support workers for advice from someone who knows your circumstances, when you need it.
    There’s also the chance to learn from the experience and knowledge of other foster carers through our peer mentoring scheme and local foster carer forums. Plus, you’ll benefit from additional support from
    Foster Talk an independent foster carer support network.

Our transfer to us and application processes begins with a home visit, so we can get to know each other. Listening to our foster carers helps us to better match children and foster parents. We want to support carers where and when they need it. If you’re already a foster carer with another agency and are moving into the area or changing agency, we’ll work with your existing agency or local authority to support you and any child or young person in your care. 

We don’t work specifically with families looking to adopt but support for adoption in Lancashire and Blackpool, and the wider North West is available through the charity Adoption Matters. Adoptive families may also access financial support through the local adoption support fund.

How much do foster parents get paid in Lancashire?

Fostering allowance is just one part of our benefits and support package, which aims to provide you with everything you need to comfortably and confidently look after the children in your care. One of the ways we work hard to support our foster carers is by reviewing the foster carer allowances we pay every year. As an independent fostering agency, we set our own rates, and our allowances can differ from Lancashire County Council fostering allowances. Foster carers are paid weekly depending on the number of children in their care, and the age and needs of the children. As a foster carers working with Foster Careline in Lancashire and surrounding area you can expect to receive upwards of £428.

What disqualifies you from being a foster parent?

Everyone is different, as is every child and their needs, so we treat each application to become a foster carer individually.

There are a few specific non-negotiable criteria that you’ll need to meet to become a foster carer, these are:

  • You must be over the age of 21
  • You must have a furnished spare room for a young person or child (not used by anyone else)
  • You must have the right to permanently live in the UK.

As part of the process, you will go through various assessments. You will also need criminal record checks to check your suitability for fostering. Convictions related to offences against children and young people will disqualify you from being a foster carer. You can learn more about qualifying to foster by reading am I eligible? 

Want to find out more about support for foster carers in the North West?

Popping into one of our in-person informal fostering events is a great way to learn more about Foster Careline’s support in the North West, whether you’re new to fostering or considering a transfer. Meet our foster families by reading and watching their stories. Or, submit a query to our friendly new enquiries team or call them on 0151 391 3881 for a no-obligation chat.