Who can become a foster carer
Fostering gives a stable family life to children who can't live at home. Support is provided for the child, the foster carer and the family of the fostered child.
There are so many reasons why children may have to be cared for away from their own families and most children return to their own family after a period in temporary care. At these times child and young people need a safe, caring home where they can be supported to remain in contact with their family.
To be a foster carer you must be at least 18 years old and be emotionally, physically and financially stable. Other than that, there are no hard and fast rules about who can foster. You can be:
- single, married, divorced, or living together
- in a same sex relationship
- from any ethnic or religious background
- a homeowner or living in rented accommodation
- employed or on benefits
- already a parent
- living with a disability
Foster carers need to be warm, patient, understanding and flexible and have the ability to care for children safely. What they have in common is room in their lives, hearts and homes for children that need their care. Our foster carers also tell us resilience, compassion and inclusion makes a real difference.
Having a police record does not automatically mean that you won’t be able to foster, however it will depend on the nature of the offence and how long ago it was committed. You can contact us and discuss it.
We’re currently recruiting new foster carers who will provide short break, temporary, long term and permanent care to children who may:
- be part of a sibling group
- be teenagers
- need short break carers
- have additional complex needs or children with a disability
- Community Short Breaks
- be returning to the area or leaving residential care
You can make an initial enquiry about fostering right now.
Once we’ve received it, one of our friendly colleagues will arrange a telephone interview with you to gather more information. If we’d both like more information about each other a home visit to discuss the process further and answer any questions in more detail with members of your household.
Following this, if you want to proceed we would invite you to attend a preparation course. This is an opportunity to learn more about fostering and meet other carers and discuss whether fostering is right for you. From here you can make a full application.
The assessment process from enquiry to approval does need a huge commitment and at any stage you can decide whether it is right for you or not to continue with the process.
The fostering assessment
After completing the Skills to Foster training course you can fill in and submit the formal application form.
After this, a family placement social worker will start your home study. This can take up to six months to complete. The assessment and approval process involves all members of your household. It looks at all aspects of your family life and your ability to care for a child who has experienced loss and trauma. As part of this process a number of checks are done.
A home study report is then produced, which you can read before it’s sent to the Fostering Panel.
Your home study report is also presented to our fostering panel, and you’ll be invited to a meeting with the panel to discuss your application.
The social worker who will undertake your assessment will discuss the role of the fostering panel in more detail with you.
The panel's recommendation goes to the head of social work for children and families and Criminal Justice for a final decision. You’ll receive written confirmation if you have been approved as a foster carer within 21 days.