Most frequently asked questions
Can anyone apply to become a foster carer?
Anyone over the age of 21 can apply to be considered as a carer. Foster carers are as diverse as the children they look after. You can be single or married or be in a long term stable relationship, with a partner of either gender. You can own your own home or you can rent.
Making an application does not commit you to continuing with the assessment, and many people do not go further than the first information stage. This is quite acceptable, as people need to feel sure that fostering is right for them.
Are there any reasons why I can’t foster?
Obviously fostering isn’t for everyone but we won’t exclude anyone on the grounds of race, religion, gender, class, age, culture, marital status or sexuality.
As you would expect, extensive references are undertaken in respect of all prospective foster carers, including police checks, but only certain serious criminal convictions will automatically disqualify you from becoming a foster carer.
What is it really like to be a foster carer?
As a foster carer you will be faced with situations which may be unfamiliar to you. It isn’t something you can do alone – fostering will have an impact on your family.
Helping a child or young person can be rewarding but it can also mean coping with difficult or challenging behaviour. Most of our carers find that the rewards of fostering far outweigh the problems and frustrations.
Do I need a big house?
No, so long as any child or young person placed has their own separate bedroom and space to keep personal possessions it does not matter what size your house is. Ideally each child in the household should have their own bedroom.
Do I have to have children of my own?
No. Many children are successfully placed with carers who do not have children of their own or whose children have grown up.
How old are the foster children and what type of placement can I expect?
Children can be of any age and placements can vary from single placements to sibling groups to parent and baby placements. The social worker will discuss with you what age children and type of placement will best suit your skills, abilities and circumstances. However, there is much demand for carers who can work with teenagers.
How long do the foster children stay with us?
There is no easy answer to this because it depends on the reasons the children need to be looked after. It can be a day, a week, months or even years.
Most families will be encouraged to think about the sort of work they want to do with children and their families, and this will then identify what kind of care they can offer to children. Each child will have a care plan that is regularly reviewed, determining how long the child will stay.
Why might a child or young person leave a placement?
There are numerous reasons why a placement may come to an end. It may be part of a Careplan that the child or young person is ready to return home, a specified piece of work has come to an end, or the young person moves on to independent living.
How do I apply?
Making a decision to become a foster carer isn’t one to be taken lightly. We suggest your next step is to talk to one of our team on 08000 19 11 65 or complete the enquiry form when we will send you more information.