Deciding to become a foster parent is a huge decision. We understand that you will probably have plenty of questions! So, we have gathered some answers for our most commonly asked questions to help you out. Of course, if you can’t find the answer to your question, please get in contact and our friendly members of staff will be happy to assist!
What is fostering?
Fostering is when a registered carer looks after a child who can no longer remain with their birth family. There are many types of fostering including short term, long term, respite, emergency and more. The specifics of each fostering placement will be different as no two children or situations are the same. The purpose of fostering is to provide children and young people with a safe, stable and loving home when they need it.
Why do children need to be fostered?
Sometimes it is no longer possible for a child to remain under the care of their birth parents. They may be suffering from neglect, abuse, mistreatment or are not being cared for properly. In instances like this, a court may rule that the child be removed from the family home. In other instances, a long-term illness may mean that a child can no longer be cared for by their family. No matter what the individual circumstance, children enter the care system when they need a safe place to be looked after.
How long does it take to become an approved foster carer?
The application process varies depending on each prospective carer, but it can normally take anywhere between 3 and 6 months. This may seem like a long time but safeguarding children is at the forefront of everything we do and we need to make sure that you are suited to the role!
Do I get to choose who I foster?
During the application process, we will discuss your preferences and interests to get a greater understanding of what type of fostering will best suit you. We always endeavour to match children and young people to carers that will suit them. Plus, you will always be consulted before any decision is made and we encourage you to work with us as part of the team.
Will I be paid to foster?
Yes, you are paid a fostering allowance for every child in your care. This allowance is dependent on the age of the child and the degree of care needed to look after them. It is important to remember that if you do not have a child placed with you, you are not paid. Find out more about the foster care allowance here.
What is an independent fostering agency?
An independent fostering agency, sometimes called an IFA, is an agency that works with local authorities to source placements for children who come into the care system. IFA’s are governed by Ofsted and are required to adhere to strict rules and regulations intended to safeguard children. Many people choose to foster with an independent fostering agency, like Family Fostering Partners, as the levels of training and support are often superior to local authorities.
Can I transfer from one IFA to another?
Yes, just like with any job, you are free to move if you wish. If you choose to switch fostering agency, you will need to be reassessed and approved with that agency but the process is usually quicker and easier. After all, you’ve already been a carer!
Requirements to foster
Do I need any qualifications or skills to foster?
No, you do not need any formal qualifications or skills to foster. Full training will be provided as well as ongoing training and support as you progress into the role. Some essential qualities that we look out for are a fondness of children, patience, energy and dedication to the role!
Do I need a spare bedroom?
Yes, you must have a spare bedroom to foster a child. This is really important as it provides the child or young person with a safe, secure place to call their own. In this time of change and disruption, giving a young person a sense of privacy is essential and a bedroom to call their own will form a big part of this. If you currently do not have a spare bedroom but are looking to move soon, you can still contact us to discuss your next steps.
Can I foster if I have my own children?
Yes, you can foster if you have your own children as long as you have a spare bedroom for the foster child. When you apply, we will consider the impact of fostering on your entire family, including your children. We care about the welfare of all children, including your own and they will be involved with the process.
Can I foster if I'm gay or a member of the LGBTQ+ community?
Yes, we encourage anyone with an interest in fostering to apply! It doesn’t matter how you identify as long as you have the time, space and ability to care for a child or young person.
Is there an age limit to foster?
No, there is a minimum requirement that you are aged above 21 years old but there is no upper age limit. As long as you are fit enough to provide good quality care to a child then you are eligible to foster.
Can I foster if I'm single or married?
Yes, anyone can foster if they are single or married. If you are single, you must not be working full time and you must have enough time in your life to care for a young person. If you are married, then both you and your spouse will need to be assessed when you apply.