Your Questions

Ask our experts any burning questions you have about fostering or use the helpful FAQs below. As we always say to anyone thinking of fostering with us, the only stupid question is the one you didn’t ask!

Fostering is a way of offering children and young people a home while they are unable to live with their own family. Fostering can be a temporary arrangement, with many fostered children returning to their own family or it can be a long term arrangement.  Children in foster care are in the care of the local authority.  Whereas adoptive parents have all parental rights and responsibilities and the adopted child loses all legal ties with their birth parents and becomes a full member of the new family.

You can start the process by enquiring here. Don’t worry, there is no commitment at this stage but we will be in touch and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions.

No, but you will need to consider if your work is flexible enough to allow you to foster.  For example, how will you get a child to and from school and care for them in the school holidays? Or if you need to take time off due to a child’s illness or to attend meetings or training.

It is helpful but not essential. What is more important is that you are able to communicate and have the ability to build a relationship with a child.

Yes. We value the skills and experiences you can offer as a parent. Your own children would be involved in the approval process too, as their views are important.

Some children will fit into your family life easier than others, as most of them will be facing serious challenges in their lives. You should discuss it with your social worker if there is an issue with a child that means you do not feel the placement is working out – this may also be in the interest of the child or young person, who likewise, may not feel it is working out. It may be that extra training or support for you as a foster carer, helps to make the placement a successful one.

Yes, we welcome applications from people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual.

Yes. It’s important that foster children have the privacy and space they require. Babies up to 18m months old are able to share a room with their foster carer.

Your home is a key part of the approval process for you to become a foster carer so we are unlikely to begin the approval process if you are in between homes.

As long as you are over 21 you can be considered as a foster carer. There is no upper age limit providing you are in general good health. We find many older people make excellent carers.

Put simply, no. but you’ll need to have enough space within your home to comfortably accommodate a child, whether as an owner or tenant.

As a Local Authority we hold the duty to provide care for vulnerable children at a risk of harm. When children come into our care it’s our job to ensure we find the most suitable match for them. Unlike many independent fostering providers, the Local Authority does not make a profit from the service it provides.

Yes. However there will be limitations with the children you are able to foster.

No. You don’t need any specific qualifications to be a foster carer. It’s your personal attributes and skills which are most important, as long as you have the time, skills and ability to care for children or young people.

No one expects you to know everything about fostering straight away. We understand that good quality training is crucial in supporting you in your role as a foster carer.

Throughout the approval process and beyond we’ll provide comprehensive training and regular support. This will include a ‘Skills to Foster’ preparation course as part of the assessment process.

All foster carers must also complete ‘Training,  Support and Development Standards for Foster Care’ within 12 months of approval. This is important but not too difficult and we’ll be there to help you.

You are never left to go it alone – we have a comprehensive support package for carers, ensuring that foster placements are successful for both carer and our children. Click to see the full range of support available.

No, currently we have children waiting for placements. Following your approval, your social worker will support and advise you in finding a suitable match.

We will provide you with as much information about the young person and their background as possible, before you decide whether to accept the placement. Sometimes we have to place children in an emergency; in this circumstance we may have very little information. But a planning meeting will follow very shortly and we hope that by that stage more would be known about the child’s circumstances.

As part of the assessment to become a foster carer, we will cover areas such as the right age range for you, the number of children you will foster and other considerations. Placements will be planned and you should be matched with a child / young person who is a good fit for you as a carer but you have the right to turn the placement if you think it isn’t right for you.

Yes. Foster carers can be single, married, gay, divorced, or living in a long term relationship. Your situation doesn’t matter as long as you have the time, patience and love to give children who need it.

Your religious beliefs should not impact on the success of your application to be a foster carer with us. Ideally, we will place children with carers who can meet their religious needs where they exist. You need to consider how you will deal with children of different or no faith.

Past mental illness is not a bar to becoming a foster carer.  A medical report is always sought as part of the assessment process, and you will also need to consider the impact the emotional side of fostering could have on your mental health.

Yes. You will be paid an allowance which will cover costs related to looking after a child you are caring for. We will also pay a fee on top of the allowance, in recognition of your time, skills and experience.

Foster carers are treated as self-employed for tax purposes. There is a specific tax scheme foster carers can use called Qualifying Care Relief. The scheme calculates a tax threshold unique to the fostering household, which means that for most carers you will pay little or no tax on your fostering income.

If you currently claim welfare benefits you are likely to be able to continue to claim while fostering. Foster carers are approved rather than employed by their fostering service, and this status has a particular effect on means tested benefits. In the main, fostering payments when a child is placed with a foster carer are disregarded when calculating welfare benefits.  Alternatively, foster carers may be able to claim Working Tax Credit because fostering is regarded as ‘work’ by HMRC when they have a child in placement.

Yes you can. We often find that pets can enhance the experience of children who become part of your family through fostering.

Not necessarily, it would depend on the nature of the offence. We won’t progress your application where there are convictions for serious offences or offences against children.

An enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be carried out on you and anyone in your household who is aged 16 or over.