Frequently Asked Questions
Here we try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions, we are sure you will have others so if we have missed anything contact us either by email or by phone and we will try and help. You could also fill out the form on the contact us tab and we will contact you back.
Q: Who can be a Foster Carer?
A. In short, almost anyone can apply to be assessed as a Foster Parent.
Although you must be over 21, there is no upper age limit. Neither your cultural background, marital status or disability play a part in determining whether you are suitable.
Things we must consider include:
Your eligibility to work in the UK
Your health, background and family lifestyle
Your parenting skills and experience caring for children
Your ability to provide a loving, caring and nurturing environment
Q: What is the difference between a Local Authority agency and Fostering Families foster care?
A: Local Authorities are ultimately responsible for the well-being of all children in public care. Fostering Families works in partnership with Local Authorities to find and supply the best possible family environment for the children in care.
As with any career, foster carers can choose who they want to work for. You are classed as being self-employed, your income is tax-free and you may be entitled to receive some extra benefits from the government.
Q: Can a foster child share a bedroom with one of my own children?
A: No they need their own room. Do not worry if you haven’t got one, remember we have options available to you to help you foster.
Q: When may it be possible for a child to share a bedroom?
A: If children are placed with their siblings of the same gender or very young siblings, they may be able to share a room, but only if it is safe and appropriate.
Q: Can I still go out to work and be a foster carer?
A: Yes, if you are a couple and the other person is available for the child.
If this is not the case then you need to be available to look after the child full-time. This depends on the flexibility of the job in question and the needs of the children placed with you. As a foster carer, you need to be available for the children in your care – as you would be with your own children. If your job is flexible or you work from home, you may be able to continue working. There are no hard and fast rules so talk to the Advanced Foster Care team.
Q: Can I choose how long I want children and young people to stay with me?
A: Yes. There are different types of placements – long term, short term, respite placements or emergency, sibling groups or mother and baby placements. You can decide which type of placement would suit you best. It isn’t always possible to know at the beginning of a placement exactly how long the placement is likely to last for, so you will need to be flexible and understanding if the child’s circumstances change.
Q: Do I need a driving licence?
A: No, public transport or a car provided by us will both enable you to get around.
Having a car can make your fostering placement much easier. If you have easy access to public transport and can take your child easily to school, meetings and to visit their family then you won’t need a car. We can help facilitate the cost of public transport.
Q: I have dogs or other pets, would this be a problem?
A: No as long as they are friendly! Whilst some children will enjoy having pets in the home, others may be frightened or may tease an animal. Any animals in the home will be considered during a Health & Safety check and Risk Assessment to ensure that they do not pose a risk to the foster child.
Q: Can I choose which age group or sex I would prefer to foster?
A: Yes, you can. You are more likely to have continuous placements if you are happy to take teenagers as well as younger children. A child’s emotional-age sometimes doesn’t reflect their true age, which affects the child’s behaviour, learning, skills and abilities. Many younger children referred to us need to be placed along with their siblings or with their teenage Mother.
Q: How much will I know about the child/young person before they are placed with me?
A: We will endeavour to give you as much information as possible before you have a child in your home, sometimes if its an emergency placement very little is known until information can be gathered. We will provide you with as much information about the young person and their background as possible, including any difficult behaviours and how to manage them. In emergency foster placements, information may be limited. But we always ask the appropriate questions and we will find out as much as possible about the child and their history beforehand.
Q: Do I get any help if the child has special needs or a disability?
A: Yes we offer specialist support that support you and the child. Our role is to support you and this may include providing specialist equipment or training. Your social worker will explain the specific needs of the child before placement and support you in making the placement work – both for you and the child.
Q: What about the child's/children's birth parents?
A: Contact with parent in some cases is allowed and in others for safety reasons its not it varies on the individual circumstances.
Q: How much will I earn?
A: Anything from £400 a week upwards.