Q .Who can apply to Foster?
A. Anyone with some experience of caring for children can apply to foster, If you have a spare room, the time, energy and commitment to help a child. You must be at least 21 years old.
Q. What skills do I need?
A. We are looking for Foster Carers who have some experience of looking after children. This can be with your own children, or children of family and friends. Also children from previous or present employment, paid or voluntary. We especially need Foster Carers who are willing to learn to work with teens, challenging behaviours and sibling groups.
Q. Will a criminal record exclude me from applying?
A. A criminal record will not necessarily exclude you from applying. It depends upon the circumstances and background. Offences are assessed confidentially on an individual basis. If you or your partner have convictions relating to offences towards children you will not be able to foster. Applicants will be required to undergo a Criminal Records Check (DBS).
Q. What are the different types of Fostering?
A. Short term can be anything from one night to a few years.
Long term is when children cannot return home to birth families.
Respite Foster Carer provides short breaks to Full Time Foster Carer.
Q .Do I need to own my home?
A. Renting does not exclude you from Fostering. You will just need proof of a secure tenancy.
Q. Can I still work and Foster?
A. 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 conditions. This is because professional Fostering is demanding and Foster Carers are required to attend many meetings with regard to the children in their care.
Q. We have young children, can we still Foster?
A. In short Yes! When considering a placement we carefully match a child’s needs with the provision that you as a Foster Carer can offer. We take into consideration the needs of all children in the home and how it will affect their lives.
Q. How much will I be paid?
A. Foster Carers receive a weekly allowance which ranges from £320-£550 per week per child depending upon the need of the child.
Q. Will I pay Tax?
A. 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 will provide a staff member to discuss this matter with you. See (What will I be paid?)section.
Q. When can I begin to Foster?
A. 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.
Q. What kind of support will I get?
A. 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.
Q. What are the checks that will you need to make?
A. Criminal Record Checks (DBS)
Local Authority/Social Services check
References from Employers (if applicable)
Health and safety check on your home
Proof of identity
Q. Will my partner need to be checked?
A. 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.
Q Will I be trained?
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.