Becoming a foster carer

What is fostering?

Fostering offers children and young people a caring, stable family life when they are unable to live with their birth family at a point in time. Fostering is when a child is placed in an alternative family who are able to meet their needs. Foster carers provide stability, security and a positive family life for vulnerable children.

Children come into care from diverse backgrounds, cultural settings and with different abilities. Children and young people are looked after for a variety of reasons. The term ‘looked after’ is used to specify that the local authority is providing accommodation for children and young people.  Foster carers provide a room in their home that a child can call their own.

Children may remain in foster carer for short or long periods of time. It all depends on the child’s circumstances and needs. Foster carers are special people because they care for vulnerable children, they keep them safe and make sure that they look after their health and support them to achieve at school.

Foster carers look after children in different age categories but it is usually between the ages of 0- 18.  Fostering also involves looking after children with disabilities and special needs as well as children who are living in the UK without their parents and family.

Foster carers must attend important meetings and keep information about foster children confidential. They must attend training to help them develop the skills to foster children and work with professionals.

Becoming a foster carer will allow you to make a difference in a child’s life .

Can I become a foster carer?

Yes! There is a minimum criteria that is set out in our assessment. We stipulate that a person applying to become a foster carer must:

to be at least 21 years-old (although by law you can apply to foster from 18)

  • to have a spare bedroom big enough for a young person to live in
  • to be a full-time resident in the UK or have leave to remain
  • to be able to give the time to care for a child or young person, often on a full-time basis

Contact us and find out more information!

Process of becoming carer

Caring Hearts Fostering is committed to the recruitment of carers who share the agency’s goal of delivering exceptional standards of care for children and young people.

Caring Hearts Fostering will provide prospective foster carers with information in regards to fostering and the process in becoming a foster carer. We are ready to respond to any concerns or questions you may have.

Where an enquiry is taken forward, a detailed information pack will be sent out to you. Following receipt of the information pack, if you decide to continue the process, an initial home visit will be arranged where a qualified social worker will conduct a basic assessment of the suitability of the home and the prospective carers.

This initial assessment will also provide an opportunity for the potential carer to ask any further questions they may have and discuss the process of being assessed. Where the initial home visit is successful, the potential foster carer will be asked to complete a detailed application form that includes information about themselves and their family. They will be requested to grant Caring Hearts Fostering consent for the necessary checks and enquiries to be completed to verify their identity and suitability to foster. Statutory checks include a criminal record check, medical check, local authority checks and references from three personal referees, adult children, ex-partners, employers, and schools where birth children are under the age of 18 years old as well as adult birth children whether they are living at home or elsewhere.

The assessment process will be carried out in two stages and will typically take 3-4 months, and possibly up to six months depending on the applicants’ circumstances. In addition to home assessments and an interview by a fostering panel, applicants will also be required to attend a 3-day preparation-training course.

Support and Training

Highest standards of care for children and young people

In order to deliver the highest standards of care for children and young people, Caring Hearts Fostering recognises that full and proper training and development of foster carers and staff is absolutely crucial. Therefore:

      • Initial training will be followed by an on-going programme of development for all those involved with the agency. Training schedules are arranged annually and are fully responsive to any changes in guidance and legislation that need to be addressed
      • Foster carers will be encouraged to contribute and give their input as to how we might best enhance the training programme and address areas where a focus is needed. This is an approach that will be combined with our own observations of where to best use our training resources, as well as topics that are consistent with research and best practice development
      • Foster Carers will be able to attend regularly scheduled support groups that allow informal discussion with other carers and include special guest speakers
      • Foster carers are expected to attend training on a regular basis and take an active interest in advancing their fostering skills
      • Our foster agency will work with foster carers to complete the Training, Support and Development Standards Induction framework, within one year of their approval. This is a requirement that will provide a structured approach to their learning

Types of foster care

Emergency placements

a 24 hour a day service where a child can be placed without prior notice. These placements are typically for a number of days.

Short term placements

placement with an appropriately matched foster carer for a few days, weeks or months whilst plans are made for the child or  young person’s long-term care.

Long Term (permanent) placements

where adoption is not a possibility, a child or young person can remain with a foster carer up to and in to adulthood

Parent & child placements

Families that need additional support together.

Bridging placements

Available in situations where children are to ultimately be reunited with their families or are preparing to move to an adoptive family

Respite placements

These provide a break for parents or offer additional support where a support network is required. Respite is also available for our own foster carers

Sibling Placements

Siblings can be placed together or if placed separately, arrangements are made for contact between them

Children with disabilities

Children who need an increased support and care with special circumstances.

Financials

Allowance

All foster carers receive a weekly fostering allowance which is designed to cover the cost of caring for a fostered child. This should cover food, clothes, toiletries and all other expenses incurred in looking after a fostered child.

Tax

Foster carers are generally exempt for paying tax on the fostering allowance, however if your income is above the current government threshold you may have to pay Tax.

National Insurance

All foster carers must register as self-employed and pay National Insurance contributions.

Tax Credits

You may be entitled to working tax credit or child tax credits