About Fostering

Why Foster What is Fostering Who Can Become
a Foster Carer?
What Support
Will I Receive?
Will Fostering
Affect My Children

Why Foster

People decide to become foster carers for various reasons but the main being that they want to make a difference in a child's life.
In most cases, people will have been thinking about fostering for years before they make that decisive step to query about fostering.
Some are parents who have done a good job with their own children and see no reason why they cannot be role models for foster children.
Others don’t have children of their own but feel they have time, patience, warmth and love to give to young people who cannot live with their own families.
Other families are ‘empty nesters’ whose children are now grown up and they enjoy having the noise and fun that youngsters bring to a home.
Whatever the reason, fostering is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have.

What is Fostering?

Children and young people need foster care for many reasons. Some parents have health related problems that prevent them from being able to care for their children. Others struggle because they did not have a good parenting experience and find it very difficult to be a parent themselves. This can sometimes result in the abuse and neglect of children / young people. Other parents who have children with a disability need support to help care for them. Fostering provides these children/young people with alternative family care where they can feel valued, respected and cared for.
Fostering is generally for a limited period – whether it be for a week, a month, a year or more. In foster care, the legal responsibility for the child / young person is likely to be shared between birth parents and social services. However, day to day care is provided by the foster carer.
What these children and young people need is security, patience and understanding, to help them grow up to be responsible adults, living their lives to the full and being able to meet and cope with the challenges that face all of us at different stages in our lives.
A child / young person in foster care will have contact with their birth family. The ultimate goal for most children/young people in foster care is that they are able to return home at some point in the future.


Who can become a foster carer?

Whatever your marital status, sexual orientation, religious/cultural or ethnic background, whether you have a disability or medical condition – provided it is stable and does not affect your ability to care for a child / young person, you can apply to foster.

Even if you already have children of your own – provided your children are happy to accept a foster child/young person into your home then we would love to hear from you. Whether or not you work – there are different types of foster care to suit a wide range of employment circumstances, call and have a chat with us about the different types of fostering.

Whether you are retired – provided you are healthy and have plenty of energy to help children/young people for a reasonable period into the future we would love to speak to you.

Whether your own childhood was difficult – provided you have been able to reflect on the experience and can now use this in a positive way to help children/young people you can foster.

It is important, however, that;
You enjoy the company of children and young people
You have a spare room that a child/young person can use
You do not have a police record for violence or sexual offences
You are prepared to attend training courses designed to help foster carers in the important work that they do
You are available to meet with all the people involved in the child / young person’s life.

We welcome enquiries irrespective of your race, religion, language, culture, gender, disability, age, and sexual orientation.

​What Support will I receive?

We want to ensure that all our foster carers get the right support to undertake the fostering task.


​​​​​​​Formal support

The main source of support will be the social worker allocated to you, known as your supervising social worker. Your supervising social worker may be the same social worker who completed your fostering assessment. The role of the supervising social worker is to supervise and support you when children/young people are in your care. You will have regular contact with them via telephone and visits to your home. When necessary, they will accompany you to meetings or attend meetings on your behalf.
You will also receive support from the child / young person’s social worker, health visitor and other professionals involved. Often birth parents, grandparents, and other extended family are very supportive and appreciative of you.
Outside normal office hours, there will be an out of hours service which will be available between 5.00pm – 9.00am Monday to Thursday, Friday 5.00pm to Monday 9.00am and all day on public holidays. This service will provide advice and support to carers who are concerned about the foster child/young person in their care.
There are two voluntary agencies in England who provide support to foster carers:
The Fostering Network www.fostering.net
British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) www.baaf.org.uk

Informal support

The support you receive through your own immediate and extended family, your neighbours and your friends is very important. Other forms of informal support may be sought through faith organisations, local clubs or other foster carers living in your area. To foster successfully it is important that you have a strong support network within your community.

Allowances

An allowance will be paid every 30 days which covers the daily cost of caring for a child / young person. There are a number of other circumstances where additional money may be paid, however the full range of payments will be explained by your supervising social worker. It is important to note that fostering allowances do not affect social security benefits.
Foster carers are free to spend food, household and travel allowances as they feel benefits the child most.
​​​​​​​

Pre-approval training

During the initial phase of the assessment you will be invited to attend pre approval training. This will give you the opportunity to explore whether fostering is right for you and your family. You will also get to meet and hear from foster carers doing the job and gain some awareness of the support and training which will be offered to you post approval. The pre approval course covers a range of topics such as child development, understanding the impact of early childhood experiences, attachment and bonding, understanding and coping with aspects of child abuse, and ways of saying goodbye to children.

Post-approval training

Once approved by the Viola Fostering Panel, any identified learning needs will have been highlighted by the Panel. This will form part of your initial support and development package. Training will be provided to assist you in meeting the specific needs of the child/young person in your care.
As you gain experience as a foster carer it is expected that you will complete the CWDC course within 18 months of approval. This is designed to help carers reflect on the early challenges of being a foster carer and provide useful guidance and support.
Areas covered in this training are: Understanding the legal issues, Contact with birth family and the impact of fostering on your family, Safer caring guidelines
Recording and information sharing, Participation in LAC reviews, Practical and emotional impact of moves in foster care.
In addition to this core training, you will have access to a wide range of training opportunities for carers such as Recognising Men’s Role in Fostering, Attachment and Loss, and Behaviour Management.
Foster carers will be provided with a range of venues/times and training methods suitable to their individual needs.
​​​​​​​

Support groups

Foster carers will have the opportunity to meet together in small support groups with, or at times without, the assistance of the fostering social work team. This its hoped will provide much needed opportunity to talk about fostering issues with other carers. Foster carer support groups are often attended by carers who have a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise which they have accumulated through many years in fostering. These carers can offer valuable support to less experienced foster carers.
Formal and informal feedback from support groups helps to inform further training needs which can be addressed through the support group, one to one sessions, or in more structured training settings.

Skills and Abilities required

Many of the children/young people who need to live with foster carers have been through traumatic experiences. As a result they may feel lonely, afraid or confused which may result in challenging behaviour.

As a foster carer you will need to:

Have the ability to provide a good standard of care to other people’s children to promote their health, education and leisure interests
Have the ability to listen and communicate with children/young people in a way that is appropriate for their age and understanding
Have the willingness to learn new skills
Have the ability to help the child/young person keep in contact with their family, friends and local community activities as appropriate
Have the ability to put boundaries in place in order to manage behaviour in an effective and positive way to enable children / young people to grow up to be responsible and well balanced adults
Have the energy and motivation to remain committed to a child young person through more challenging times
Have the ability to work with and understand the role of all the professionals involved in the child / young person’s life.
​​​​​​​

Some questions that you should ask yourself

Do you have patience, understanding and a sense of humour?
Are you a resilient person and able to cope with the extremes of emotions you will experience and the response they will demand of you?
Are you warm and nurturing?
Are you non judgemental and anti-discriminatory in your outlook?
Are you a good listener?
Can you communicate openly and honestly?
Can you be flexible but also capable of setting clear boundaries?
Can you express views both verbally and in written form?
Would you welcome guidance and support?

If you can answer yes to the above, then please get in touch.