Questions and answers
Do I need any special qualifications to be a foster carer?
No, it is your personal qualities which are of more importance to us and we will support and prepare you for all stages in the fostering process. Similarly, if you have worked with children or do have qualifications in childcare your personal qualities will be just as useful in your application.
How do children feel when they are fostered?
Just as there is no stereotypical formula for a foster carer welcoming a child into their family, foster children will all feel individually about their foster families. As a foster carer you will get training on how to empathise with your foster child and encourage them to feel safe within your family.
What type of things might prevent me from becoming a foster carer?
All people enquiring about becoming foster carers, and those who will have close links with the child will undergo police and criminal record checks. If you have committed an offence against children you will not be able to foster. The outcome of these checks is necessary for any application to progress to the next stage.
I’m not married anymore, can I still foster?
Yes, you can be a foster carer whether single, living with a partner, married or divorced.
Do foster children maintain contact with their birth families?
Wherever possible, foster children are encouraged to maintain and develop birth family contact and friendships. However there are appropriate and clear guidelines surrounding contact arrangements, and the fostering service is on-hand to provide support and advice to help carers deal with this situation.
I don’t own my own home – could I still foster?
Yes, you just need to be able to provide a child with their own bedroom and a stable, safe and comfortable environment.
I’m on benefits – can I still be a foster carer?
Yes, you can. If you claim a disability allowance you should think carefully about the challenges fostering may bring. The Foster Care Agency would be happy to discuss this further with you as there may be some medical or health conditions which could affect your application or the type of fostering you could do.
If I apply to be a foster carer, will you ask about my sexuality?
Your application to be a foster carer cannot be affected by your sexuality, ethnicity or religion.
If I fostered a child, would they stay at the same school?
In ideal circumstances children who need foster care would stay in their local area. When this is not possible, transport arrangements will be made for the child to continue attending their regular school. This arrangement might change once the stability and length of a foster care placement has been established.
What about young people in foster care making friends?
Fostering Agencies have access to a varied range of leisure activities for children and their foster families.
In my application to be a foster carer there has been some very personal information collected. Would you share this information with other Agencies?
Because being a foster carer involves caring for a child, all potential foster carers going through application process do have to be asked about their background and lifestyle. All Fostering Agencies have to record this information and will share and ask for information from appropriate agencies like the health service or the criminal records bureau. However, your consent is needed for these checks to uphold the Data Protection Act.
What happens when a child is placed?
Before a child is placed with you, you should receive a report on the child, which informs you about their background and highlights any of the child’s needs which will need to be respected and upheld. You should also have been prepared for starting foster care placements as part of your assessment process.
What will happen if a placement breaks down?
All Fostering Agency Providers make every effort to prevent placements breaking down. Professional support is available to provide families with extra support to help them work together to maintain placements as well as placing children with families they can be happy in. However, should a placement break down the child will be moved to another placement and given extra support as will the foster family.
What support is offered for children who offend?
Foster care is sometimes offered as an alternative for young people who have committed an offence and would otherwise serve a custodial sentence in a young offenders institute. More specialised advice and help can be sought from your Fostering Agency social worker.
What support is there for me?
Foster carers have their agency social worker, their agency 24 hour duty service, fostering support groups and the foster child’s local authority social worker and emergency duty team.
Contact Foster Care News to use our free agency matching service. Apply to foster children.