1. Who can be a foster carer?
You can. If you are between the age of 25 years and 65 years. You need to have a spare bedroom and want to make a difference to a child's life. You need to be patient, flexible and have a good sense of humour.
2. What type of accommodation do I need to have if I am considering fostering?
A clean and safe environment with at least one spare bedroom available for fostering. You don't have to own your home, but it is important that you are in a stable environment.
It is important that your fostered child has their own space.
3. What types of children need foster care?
Children come into the care system for many reasons.
Many children have had a difficult start in life and need a family that can offer consistency and support through times that may be a challenge to them. We know that some children have suffered poor or abusive parenting and as such need some one that can understand their past and allow them to focus on their futures.
Foster children are as individual as the foster carers. They all have different needs and no two are the same. What works for you and your family might not work for someone else. They often have their education disrupted, and may feel isolated and alone.
But whatever the reason, or the needs, they are all really just looking to be part of a stable family.
4. Can I express preference for the age group of children I wish to foster?
Yes. We talk through every aspect of fostering and guide you to make a decision about what type of child would suit you the best. It might be that you feel more comfortable looking after younger children or sibling groups. Some people start their fostering career looking after teenagers and are surprised at how rewarding this is.
5. If I am in full time employment, would I still be considered for fostering?
The Homefinding & Fostering Agency require foster carers to be available to the child if needed. There is also an expectation that attendance at training will be part of the role of a carer. As well as various meetings you will need to attend.
This means that foster carers must make time available to their fostering career. It does not mean you can not work elsewhere, but you have to consider the time fostering takes up.
6. What support will I receive?
Each fostering family have a social worker assigned to them. There is 24 hour support available every day of the year, as well as monthly visits and regular contact with the supervising social worker. There is transport available to help young people maintain a school place, as well as assistance in maintaining links with birth families.
You will receive a generous allowance as well as an initial one off fee when a child is placed with you.
Other support that is available is 14 days paid respite a year, a birthday and Christmas allowance as well as membership to foster talk, which gives you legal advice and insurance.
This in addition to a weekly allowance which reflects the professional nature of the task.
7. What training will I receive?
You will receive ongoing training. The initial skills to training lasts over three days. This allows you to begin to understand why children need families to live with and how best to work with young people who may have experienced many difficulties in their lives.
Once you are approved, you will be offered a range of ongoing training, to help you do the job to your best of your abilities. All our carers say that they never stop learning.
The training program is varied and gives you skills and qualifications that are transferable beyond fostering.
8. How can I apply?
You can contact The Homefinding & Fostering Agency on 01622 765646 for an informal discussion. We would then arrange a time to come and see you and your family to discuss the application in more detail. Alternatively you can email us through our website or through Facebook and Twitter.