Fostering is caring for a child, children or young person/s in your home where they can feel valued, cared for and respected as a family member, doing the things you do as a family together like going on days out, holidays and everyday family life activities
There are many reasons that lead to children and young people needing a foster home such as illness within the family, relationship problems, family breakdown, alcohol and/or drug issues or when a child or young person is being abused. Foster carers play a vital role in providing a safe, secure and stable environment
The length of time that children and young people are placed with families can vary from days to years depending on their individual circumstances. The decision is made by the Local Authority and forms part of the child or young person’s Care Plan.
" As an existing foster carer, it is important that you work with a company that is able to fully support both the children and foster carers.
A lot of carers from Local Authorities and other Agencies come to us and feel that there could be more done for themselves and the looked after children. "
Do I need any qualifications?
You do not need specific qualifications to become a foster carer, although some experience of caring for children, either personally or professionally, would help. The most important qualities we look for in foster carers are the enthusiasm and commitment to providing a child with a secure family environment.
What kind of children need fostering?
All kinds of children need foster placements. They could be any age or even parents with babies. They need short or long term placements and these could be needed in an emergency or they may be planned. However, all the children and young people we place will have suffered disadvantage and many will have been abused or neglected.
I want to foster but I do not want a placement the same age as my own child. Would this rule me out?
No. All our placements are very carefully matched, and your assessor would discuss with you the age and type of children you would like to offer placements to, and who would fit in with your own children.
Will I be able to continue working?
The agency would wish to discuss with you your individual situation. Many of our foster carers do continue to work. However, you will be expected to be available at times within working hours, perhaps to attend meetings or if a child placed with you is unable to attend school.
What if I am not sure what to do in a situation?
Your social worker will be available to offer you support and advice whenever you feel you need it. If they are not available for any reason, you will be able to speak to another member of the social work team who will also be able to advise you. Should you require support and advice outside office hours, we offer a 24-hour on-call service that can be accessed every day of the year.
What is involved in the fostering assessment process?
If you and the agency decide to pursue an assessment, you will be allocated an assessor who will visit you on a number of occasions and will produce a report including your history, your family lifestyle and the kind of placements you are interested in taking. We would also undertake a number of checks on you, including DBS, local authority references and medicals.
Will I be able to get to know other foster carers?
Yes. We offer regular training, support groups and events for our foster carers at which you would have the opportunity to meet and talk to other foster carers. We can also link you to a carer who can offer peer support.
What if a placement does not work out?
Although you would be supported throughout all your placements, sometimes a placement may not work out. In this instance, your social worker would support you to achieve the best ending for both you and the young person concerned.
Will I have a choice in the placements I am given?
Yes. During the assessment process, your assessor will discuss with you in detail what kind of placements you feel you would be able to offer. The agency matches foster placements with great care and would always give you as much information as possible about any potential referrals. You are not under any obligation to take any placement if you do not feel it is appropriate for you.
What kind of support will be offered to me?
Once you are approved as a foster carer, you will be allocated a qualified social worker who will provide support to you both over the telephone and by visiting on a regular basis. You would also be able to contact them when you feel you need some advice. In addition, Foster Care Solutions offer an out of hours service, enabling you to access support 24 hours a day every day of the year.
Will I receive training?
Yes. As part of the assessment process, you will complete our preparation training, and after you are approved as a foster carer we will support you to complete the Children’s Workforce Development Council Fostering Standards within your first year. An ongoing comprehensive training programme will be offered together with further eLearning opportunities.
Do I need to own my own home to foster?
No. Being in rented accommodation does not exclude you from fostering. You will need to have written permission from your landlord that they consent to you fostering. To ensure stability for children we would also need a minimum of a two-year tenancy agreement, although you would need to be able to provide a foster child with their own bedroom, although you would need to be able to provide a foster child with their own bedroom.
Do I need to have had my own children before fostering a child?
No, but experience of looking after or working with children and young people gives you an invaluable foundation on which to build your fostering skills.
What kind of placements do Foster Care Solutions offer?
Foster Care Solutions can provide for a wide range of placements. We can place children and young people of all ages and with a variety of needs, and can provide long and short term placements. We can also provide parent and child placements and placements for children with disabilities.
Do I need to be married?
No, we have foster carers who are single, in a civil partnership, living together or married. If you are in a relationship though, we need to see that it is secure and committed and that you can provide a secure, loving environment for a child.
Do I have to have to be a British Citizen?
All our foster carers are either British Citizens or have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. This is essential as we wouldn’t want a child settling into a home then having to move. We want to allow all our children to feel a sense of security.
Am I too old to foster?
The minimum age limit to foster in the UK is 21 but fostering has no upper age limit! As long as you are fit enough to look after a child there is no reason you wouldn’t be allowed to foster. We request for a medical examination to be undertaken with your GP during the assessment process.