How long will it take for us to be approved as Foster Carers?
We aim to complete your assessment within six to eight months from the time we receive your formal application. This may however vary, depending on your circumstances.
How long will it take before we have a child placed with us?
This depends on a number of factors but mainly involves matching the age/type of children requiring fostering with your personal preferences for example, the age of children/the type of fostering you’d prefer. Your social worker will discuss this with you further.
What support will I receive?
As well as financial support, we’ll provide you with your own social worker who will offer advice and support alongside regular supervision. You will also have the opportunity to meet with other foster carers at our regular Support groups. We also organise regular training for foster carers to help them develop the skills they need, particulary for new foster carers who are required to complete the Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Carers within their first year of service.
Can I foster if I am single?
Yes. You can foster if you’re single, with a partner (same or different sex), married, divorced or widowed.
I’m retired, am I too old to foster?
There is no upper age limit, but if you are an older person, to be healthy, fit and active to enable you to enjoy the challenges of Fostering. As part of the application process, you’ll have a medical check but it won’t be anything too daunting. Many of our foster carers are retirees and find that the fostering ‘keeps them young’ and gives them a new lease of life.
Can I foster if I smoke?
If you smoke you can’t foster a child under the age of 5. Children older than 5 can be placed in smoking households, but only if the foster carers smoke outside.
Can I foster if I have children of my own?
Yes. We actively encourage people with parenting experience, whether your children have grown up and left the family home or if they’re still living with you/dependent on you. If your own children are very young, we may suggest that you should wait until they are a little older before you start fostering but will discuss this with you in more detail when you enquire. Your children – their ages and needs - will be included as part of the assessment process
Can I foster if I don't have any childcare experience?
To become a foster carer you will need some childcare experience. For example, this could be from raising your own or your partner’s children, from your work or by volunteering. If you don’t have any, or limited, experience, the foster carer team can advise you how to get this.
What financial support will I receive?
You will receive an allowance for caring for a child. This will cover the expenses of looking after a child. In addition, you’ll receive payments to help towards costs of birthdays, religious festivals and holidays. The amount you receive will depend on the age of the child (or children) you are fostering and their circumstances – for example, higher allowance rates are available for those fostering teenage mums to be/teenage parents and children from residential care homes. The foster carer team will be more than happy to discuss the payment structure with you.
Do I need to have a spare bedroom?
Yes – you will need to have a spare bedroom to foster. This helps ensure that your foster child and any children of your own have their own space and privacy.
Can I foster more than one child?
If you have the time and space , especially bedroom space, you can foster more than one foster child. As well as recruiting foster carers who can care for multiple children from different birth families, we often require foster carers for sibling groups of 2 or 3 children.
Can I foster if I’m unemployed or living on benefits?
You can foster if you’re employed or unemployed, as long as you’re financially stable enough to look after a child.
Can I foster children if I work?
If you’re thinking about fostering and currently work, you’ll need to consider the demands of looking after a child – for example, are your hours (or those of your partner if you have one) flexible enough to enable you to be at home when the child leaves for school and returns from school and to be available during school holidays or when a child is ill.
Do I need to own my own home?
No - you can either be a home owner or rent a property. If you do rent your home we expect your tenancy to be secure.
Can I choose the ages of the children I want to foster?
You can specify the age range of children you prefer to foster but your social worker will discuss the most appropriate age ranges with you depending on your own experience, skills and preference and on the ages of any children you already have.
Where will I get all the equipment I need?
We will supply you with essential equipment you need before you have a child placed, for example cots, beds, bedroom furniture, bedding, stair gates, prams, car seats and anything else you may require.
Can I foster if I have a criminal conviction?
We try to take a balanced view and consider the nature of the conviction, how long ago the crime was committed and how you have lived your life since. People with convictions for violent or sexual offences against children won’t be considered as foster carers but people with minor offences can foster a child or children.