Frequently asked questions....
Q: How long does it take before you can be approved as a foster carer?
A: The process normally takes about 18 weeks, but it can be as short as 12 weeks or as long as 24 weeks.
Q: Is there any training available?
A: There is a preparation training course that you will be required to complete before approval. It consists of 6 sessions and involves learning about our agency and fostering in further detail. You will be working with a group of other prospective carers during this course. Once approved, a training plan is developed for each foster carer to ensure that standards are met and maintained.
Q: What qualities are required to become a foster carer?
A: Foster carers need to be caring, patient, flexible and creative. The role of the foster carer is to help the foster child be part of your family for as long as needed.
Q: Who can become a foster carer?
A: All kinds of people can become a foster carer. We have carers who are single, married or living together. We have foster carers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, religions and cultures because we place foster children with carers who reflect and understand the child's background.
Q: How do you become a foster carer?
A: The first step is to have a phone discussion with one of our staff and if appropriate a visit is arranged. Then an application form needs to be completed and we start the checks alongside the assessment process which includes a preparation training course. This assessment is presented to the Panel who make a recommendation about approval to the Agency Director.
Q: Why be a foster carer?
A: The foster children and young people we care for have complex needs - they may have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused; or been neglected by parents who have been unable to provide appropriate care. They may have witnessed offending behaviour, drug and alcohol misuse and/or violence. Any of these difficulties will have left the children and young people with behaviours that may be challenging. So foster carers need to understand this and be prepared to work with the foster child through the difficulties they face.
Q: What will stop me being a foster carer?
A: We conduct statutory checks on all prospective foster carers and members of the household over 16. Having a criminal record is not always an obstacle as it depends upon the reason and when it happened. Any crime against a child means you are unlikely to be approved. Our responsibility is to provide a safe, caring foster home for children and our assessment process will help both you and the agency decide if fostering is right for you and your family at this time.
Q: What is it like to foster a child?
A: Looking after a foster child is hard work, it can be frustrating, but very rewarding. Most of the foster children we look after will have difficult behaviours of some kind. It may take them a while to respond to the care, support, protection and love that a foster home can offer. But providing a child with a safe and caring environment, in which they can thrive and be able to have the same opportunities as other children, is an experience that is not only valuable to the foster child but also to the foster family.
Q: What is emergency foster care?
A: This may be needed when it is essential to remove a child immediately from a particular situation, possibly of neglect or danger, and a foster carer is needed to care for children and young people in this situation.
Q: Can a flat be a foster home?
A: As long as the foster child has a bedroom for themself and their personal possessions, you can live in a flat or other accomomodation.
Q: How much is the allowance for foster carers?
A: We pay a very competitive allowance per placement per week for each foster child. You will receive extra payments for birthdays and any festivals that they celebrate. We can make enhanced payments for caring for children with severe disabilities or caring for a parent and child together.