We’ve put together answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about fostering to help you decide whether it’s right for you and your family.
If you still have a question that isn’t answered after reading the FAQ’s below, please get in touch and a member of our fostering team will be happy to help.
Frequently asked questions
What financial support will I get?
You will get an allowance to cover the costs of looking after a child. You will also get payments to help towards the cost of birthdays, religious festivals and holidays.
The amount you get depends on the age of the child and can range from £240 to £560 a week. For example, you will receive a higher rate for fostering teenagers, mums to be and children from residential care homes.
How long will it take for us to be approved as foster carers?
We aim to complete your assessment within six to eight months but this may vary depending on your circumstances. Your assessment may be fast tracked if you are looking to foster teenagers, sibling groups or children with complex needs.
How long before we have a child placed with us?
This depends on a number of factors but mainly involves matching the age and type of children requiring fostering to your personal preferences.
What support will I get?
Wigan is committed to supporting our foster carers so as to enable them to provide the best standards of care for our young people. This includes 24 hour round the clock advice, foster carer support groups, and a comprehensive list of training courses (including e-learning). There is also a range of other support available, for a full list of the benefits of fostering in Wigan visit the help and support page.
Can I foster if I am single?
Yes. You can foster if you’re single, with a partner of the same or different sex, married, divorced or widowed.
Am I too old to foster?
There is no upper age limit on foster carers but you do need to be healthy, fit and active. As part of the application process you will have a medical check. Many of our foster carers are retired.
Can I foster if I smoke?
If you smoke you will not be able to foster children who are under the age of 5 or who have additional health needs. This includes e-cigarettes.
Can I foster if I have my own children?
Yes. We encourage people with parenting experience to foster. It doesn’t matter if your children have grown up and left the family home or if they’re still living with you. If your own children are very young, we may suggest that you wait until they are a little older before you start fostering.
Your children, their ages and their needs will be included in the assessment process.
Can I foster if I don’t have any childcare experience?
You do need some childcare experience to be a foster carer. This could be from raising your own or your partner’s children, through your work or volunteering. If you don’t have any experience, or very little experience, we can advise you on how to get it.
Do I need a spare bedroom?
Yes. It is essential that you have a spare bedroom available as foster children will not be able to share a room with your own children.
Can I foster more than one child?
If you have the time and space, especially bedroom space, you can foster more than one child. As well as fostering multiple children from different birth families, we often require foster carers for sibling groups of two or three children.
Can I foster if I’m unemployed or on benefits?
Yes, as long as you’re financially stable enough to look after a child.
Can I foster if I work?
Yes, but you must consider the demands of looking after a child and whether your hours are flexible enough to fit around this. For example, you will need to be home when the child leaves for school and returns home. You would also need to be available during holidays and when they’re ill.
Do I need to own my own home?
No, you can rent or be a homeowner. If you rent your home we expect your tenancy to be secure. You also need to have a spare bedroom. This helps ensure that your foster child and any children of your own have their own space and privacy.
Can I choose the ages of the children I want to foster?
Yes. Your social worker will discuss the most appropriate age ranges with you. This will depend on your own experience, skills and preferences and on the ages of any children you already have.
Where will I get all the equipment I need?
We will supply you with all essential equipment including cots, beds, bedroom furniture, bedding, stair gates, prams, car seats and anything else you may need.
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.
You cannot foster if you have a conviction for violent or sexual offences against children but you can foster if you have minor offences.