Being a foster carer
Who can foster?
There is no typical foster carer or fostering family.
To be a foster carer you need... time, patience, tolerance and energy. You and your family must be able to share
your home and your life with others. This means not only the children you would be looking after but spending time
with social workers and possibly also the children's parents. Of course - having a sense of humour always
You don't have to have children of your own, you can be married, single or in a same sex relationship. It
doesn't matter if you are out of work or disabled, an older person or if you are living in rented housing.
We are actively looking to recruit carers from all ethnic minorities to ensure we are able to match children's
placements with their cultural and ethnic origins.
What is a foster carer?
As a foster carer you will care for someone else's child in your home.
You will share the care and work with Children's Social Work and other associated professionals such as the
Education and Health colleagues, and when appropriate the child's birth family.
Children need foster care for lots of different reasons. Their parents may be ill, there may be family
relationship problems or sadly they may be the victims of abuse.
Most fostered children go back to their own families and they just need a short period with someone who
understands and/or shares their background. For other children, the future is less certain. Unable to return home,
they need long term care or alternatively if they are older, help to move on into independent accommodation.
Will i get money when i foster?
You won't have to be out of pocket. As fostering is about more than 'just parenting' you will most likely be
faced with situations that may be unfamiliar or difficult. Consequently you won't be left to cope on your own. You
will be part of the wider professional team looking after the children who are placed with you. The child's social
worker will visit regularly and you will have your own Social Worker from the Family Placement Service. You will
also be partnered with an experienced Foster Carer who is trained as a Mentor to help you through this initial
Types of foster care
Many children need a foster home, from an overnight stay to a few months, while Social Services work with the
family to return them home as soon as possible.
Sometimes children are unable to return home within a few months as their parents are unable, or are not
prepared, to change their lives to meet their children’s needs. In such cases, these children will not be able to
return home to their families.
Sometimes parents have difficulties coping and need a regular or one off break; this can range from an overnight
stay each week to a weekend a month. This is a valuable service as it can provide the support the family needs to
Young people aged 16 plus, some of whom have spent much of their lives being looked after by the local authority
and need support and guidance from a responsible adult to prepare them for eventual independence.
When you first enquire about fostering, we’ll ask you what sort of age group you think you would like to foster.
We’ll also discuss with you what sort of children/young people you can best support and over what period of
Private fostering is a private arrangement between a child's parents and another person who is not a relative of
the child / children. Many people over-estimate what is expected from them as a foster carer. While it is of course
a big responsibility, you won’t be expected to replace a child’s parents, but to provide stability and reassurance
at a time of great uncertainty. It can be frustrating and sometimes a seemingly thankless task, but also one of the
most rewarding experiences you will ever have.