Fostering a child or young person can be a very rewarding experience but it is also a big decision to make. We’ve set out some of the most commonly asked questions to help you.
We want to ensure you have all the information you need and our team is here to help you all the way. For any other questions or to arrange an informal chat, please contact us by telephone 01225 394949 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our most frequently asked questions
We welcome applications from single people and couples regardless of your sexual orientation. You do not need to be married. What is important is your commitment and ability to care for a child.
We would not take up an application from you if you are pregnant or have just had a baby. Fostering is demanding and we want people to have the time and energy to give to this task.
Being a parent already is an excellent way of gaining the experience you need to care for a foster child. We usually find that it works best if your own children are older than any child you foster although occasionally people with young children themselves and experience of working with much older children foster an older child very successfully. Whether or not you are a parent it is important that you have some experience of looking after or caring for children or young people.
Foster children will always need their own bedroom; although it is possible for younger brothers and sisters who are fostered together to share a room. We do not recommend that you move your own children into a shared bedroom in order to foster if they have previously had their own rooms.
Many of our foster carers rent their homes. We ask that your accommodation is stable and settled and you are not likely to need to move from place to place as our children need stability and security. You would need to tell your landlord that you are considering fostering.
We normally recommend that you give yourself a reasonable period of time- around a year- if a partner or close family member has died.
All prospective foster carers will have a medical as a part of the assessment process. It’s important that you tell us at an early stage if you have significant health issues so that we can talk about how this might affect your application to foster.
It depends on what the conviction was and sometimes on how long ago it occurred. There are some criminal convictions which mean that you will be unable to foster. We would like you to let us know as early in the process as possible. Normally a senior manager would decide if we can take your application forward.
Fostering can be difficult if you both work full time unless one or both of you has a great deal of flexibility; for example you could work at home some of the time. If you are fostering a school age child the school day can be manageable; however school holidays can be problematic as it is often not suitable for children in foster care to be placed in day care. Children in foster care are likely to have had already had significant changes in their lives and need stability of care givers.
It is always helpful if foster carers can drive; especially in the more rural areas. However, not being able to drive would generally not prevent you from fostering; especially if you are near bus routes. It is often the responsibility of foster carers to take a child to various appointments (or family contact) and generally to take a child to school.
If a child is in a short term placement we try our best to keep them at the same school when they are in foster care. This means that they can keep important relationships alive and maintain a level of stability while other parts of their life are changing. If children are placed on a long term basis we may consider changing schools to a local school if it is in the child’s best interest.
We follow guidelines recommended by Coram BAAF (British Association for Adoption and Fostering) which state that children under the age of five and children with a disability, including asthma or respiratory conditions should not be placed with carers who smoke. The protection of the health of children in our care must be a priority. Potential carers wishing to foster under-fives or children with a disability need to have stopped smoking for one year before starting an assessment.
We encourage carers to take foster children on holiday with them and believe that this is part of normal family life.
Yes. We believe that it is very important for foster carers to be able to work co-operatively with the parents and family of the children they care for where this is possible. Support and training is given to help foster carers manage this.
There are numerous training courses you can go on which will help you to understand and deal with difficulties you might face, including difficult behaviour. Regular support and advice will be available from your social worker, the child’s social worker and other involved professionals.
Most new foster carers worry about this. We are glad when carers are able to help a child form a healthy attachment to them because that is good for the future relationships that child makes. When he or she moves on it will be hard but you will be surprised at how well you deal with it. We will be able to help and support you and you will meet other carers who have dealt with this before on many occasions.
Part of the assessment will be a health and safety assessment of your home. Children need to live in a warm, clean and hygienic home. They also will need space for their own belongings. Every year we are required to undertake a visit to your home without appointment to make sure that it continues to meet the needs of foster children.