What is Fostering?
Fostering is opening your home to provide a safe place for a child or young person in need of understanding, love, care and support. It’s not always easy. The child you’re caring for will often see things very differently from you and may resist your attempts to reach out to them. The challenge of fostering is to keep building those bridges so that you can provide the stable family environment that all children need to feel safe and secure.
The length of time a child will stay with a Foster Carer will depend on their individual circumstances. It could be for just a few nights, or placements can be made until a child reaches the age of 18 and is ready for independence.
Can I Foster?
There are many misconceptions about fostering. None of them should stop you from enquiring. The only essential practical requirement for becoming a Foster Carer is that you have a spare bedroom.
If you’re thinking about becoming a Foster Carer you’re likely to have lots of questions. Those we’re most frequently asked are below. If you’d like to ask any more, simply use the quick enquiry form and a member of the Fostering Team will get in touch.
What Makes a Foster Family?
A foster family is just like any other. It provides a shoulder to cry on when times are hard, and someone to laugh and celebrate with when life is good. Its members speak the truth, even when the truth is hard to hear. And it offers the love, forgiveness and support we all need to grow, learn and become better people.
Types of fostering
A temporary placement whilst future plans for the child / young person(s) are confirmed. Often, the placements have little advanced warning and can last from a few days to a few months.
Usually a pre-planned placement where a child or young person joins a foster carers family, and receives a stable home environment until they are ready to be independent
Solo care is providing care for an individual child. This child needs one on one attention, and often requires a two parent family.
Providing a regular break for a disabled child, giving parents or foster carers a break from the day to day care and responsibilities.
DISABILITY & COMPLEX NEEDS
Our specialist social workers support our carers to provide care for children with a wide range of disabilities.
Fostering children with mental health needs requires support to the foster carers to understand children and young people’s needs and working with specialist mental health support services to achieve this.
CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
Fostering a child who is vulnerable to sexual exploitation and who displays inappropriate sexualised behaviour. Progress offers specialist training to support children and young people in this area.
THERAPEUTIC FOSTER CARE
Our therapeutic social workers empower and enable foster carers to work therapeutically with children and young people.
PARENT & BABY
A stable, safe and supportive family life which promotes and nurtures the parental skills of a young parent and their baby.
A ‘specialist foster carer’ is a term used to describe someone who cares for a child with one or more of the following issues:
- Learning disabilities, Physical disabilities and other medical conditions
- Children with poor mental health
- Children who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation
- Children who display emotional and behavioural difficulties
Progress welcomes professionals from the health and social care sector who can offer specialist care because of their professional experience.
No. The only requirement for becoming a foster carer is that you have a spare bedroom. However, if you are renting a property we require written permission from your landlord giving permission to foster in their property.
We welcome applications from single carers. However, in order to become a specialist foster carer, you may need to give up work and therefore require financial stability. You will also need to evidence a strong existing support network.
There is no legal minimum or maximum age to becoming a foster carer although Progress requires a person to be over the age of 21 to foster. Progress considers and assesses each individual on their own merits and suitability. Progress will consider life experiences and a level of maturity in addition to your suitability to foster.
A full medical is undertaken as part of your initial assessment to determine your suitability to foster.
Being healthy is an important part of fostering as caring for children is physically and emotionally demanding.
Yes. This is not a barrier to fostering. Any application to foster involving 2 people in a relationship necessitates a joint application, and therefore serious contemplation, along with evidence of stability and commitment.
It is not essential to have parenting skills prior to becoming a foster carer. However, knowledge and experience of looking after children will need to be proven during the assessment process and this can be evidenced if you have previously worked with children or have a wide range of experience in caring for family members. Progress can also offer extensive training in order for you to up-skill in areas that may be required.
Some children in foster care do not communicate using English as their first language and being placed in a home where their first language is spoken is very beneficial to them and can make the transition easier. However, as you will be working with a team of professionals around the child or children, it is essential that you have an adequate level of spoken and written English to enable you to do this and to support the child’s educational development.
This will depend on your individual circumstances, the type of fostering you wish to consider and the flexibility your employment can offer. Specialist foster care requires at least one full-time carer at home. All types of foster care require you to transport a child to and from school and to attend various meetings with professionals. If you’re unsure, contact us for a more in-depth discussion.
Having a faith does not affect your application to foster. Children need to be placed with foster families that can meet their needs, including their religious needs. However, you do need to consider how you would feel about caring for a child who does not share your religious beliefs. If you only wish to care for children who are sympathetic to your faith, we can discuss this. Knowing what you can offer is better than believing you can’t, and not offering at all.
As a foster carer, you are self-employed. Foster carers benefit from generous tax relief. During the assessment process, you would still be entitled to benefits but would need to continue looking for employment if this is a requirement of the job-centre.
Many of our current specialist foster carers did not have the skills and experience initially. Progress will offer the right training programmes and support to enable you to improve and widen your skills so that you can offer specialist care.
Progress welcomes both new and existing foster carers. If you are interested in joining our team and you already have a child in place, we can discuss the possibility of the child or children transferring across with you, with the relevant Local Authority.
Having your own children does not affect your ability to foster. However, the age of your own children will impact on the decisions about the placements that you can receive and the types of fostering that you can offer. Some local authorities have specific restrictions whereby they will not place a child who is 2 years older or younger than your own. This needs to be a consideration when becoming a foster carer.
If you have children, we will need to explore with them how they will feel and cope with sharing their parents with other children. If you have school age children, you may need to consider how you will be able to transport your children to school as well as a foster child, who may attend a different school to your own.
Smoking and passive smoking carries significant risks to children and will be considered during the initial assessment process. Most local authorities will not consider placing a child under the age of 5 with a smoker in the household. Smoking around foster children is prohibited.
All applicants are required to carry out an enhanced police check during the assessment process.
Not all criminal convictions will prevent you from being able to foster and should be discussed with Progress during the enquiry stage. However, applicants with any history of sexual offences or cruelty to children will not be considered.
Yes. Progress pay a very competitive package for each child placed with you. The amount varies dependent on the age and skills required for each child. Specialist care attracts a higher reward due to the additional demands of the child. Children who have additional needs also have allocated support packages in addition to their monthly maintenance payment.
The length of the assessment is completely dependent on you and how flexible you can be in terms of attending the initial training course and attending appointments with your designated social worker. We normally suggest around 6 months from enquiry through to panel but it can take up to 8 months.
No. Once approved, each carer will complete an induction and personal development plan to identify your developmental needs. Over the first 12 months you will also work through the Training,
Support and Development Standards for Foster Care. Progress will also plan training courses to meet the needs of each individual carer.
Do you have any other questions about Fostering?
Fill in this quick enquiry form and one of our friendly team will call you back within two working days to discuss your enquiry.
Come and meet us
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