Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between foster care and adoption?
Fostering is a non-permanent placement. A child may be fostered for a few days, or even for many years. As a foster carer, you take on the role of a parent but ultimately the authorities and child’s birth parents have responsibility for the child, though you may share decision making capabilities.
Adoption is a permanent placement. It is a process which legally removes the rights and responsibilities of the child’s birth parent(s), and transfers them to adoptive parent(s). When you adopt a child, you have full parental responsibility and the child becomes a permanent member of your family for life.
Is financial assistance available to foster carers?
Yes. Every 28 days, a fostering allowance is paid for each child or young person in your care. The allowance is provided to cover the costs associated with day to day care.
You cannot claim child benefit for a child or young person you are caring for, as this payment is included in foster care allowances. Your supervising social worker will advise you about other benefits you may be entitled to.
Age Group Per week Per 4 weeks 0-4 £145.00 £580.00 5-10 £161.00 £644.00 11-15 £182.00 £728.00 16+ £213.00 £852.00
Please note these allowances include provision for the following:
• Food (including school meals) 40%
• Household costs 25%
• Clothing and footwear 18%
• Pocket money 10%
• Travel cost 7%
Additional funding may be available depending on the needs of the child / young person.
If I work, or if I am unemployed, can I foster?
Yes, in both cases.
If you are currently unemployed, you can still apply to foster. Your availability to foster should then be reviewed in the event that your employment status changes.
We do understand that in certain circumstances, foster carers may need to work and we accept this as part of family life. All work undertaken by foster carers will be reviewed in order to establish the impact on the child or young person in your care, as well as their individual needs. It is vital that you have enough time to devote to meeting the needs of each child or young person.
Can I foster if I have children of my own?
Yes you can apply to foster if you have children of your own but it is important that you discuss your interest in fostering with your children and ensure they are happy with your decision.
It is essential that you have the physical space to accommodate each child or young person (ideally in their own room, certainly in their own bed).
Can I foster if I have a criminal conviction?
Any criminal conviction will be considered and discussed with you as part of the application process.
Can I foster if I have pets?
In most cases yes, pets are considered a valuable addition to a fostering household. Children often love animals at home however all dogs will be subject to a ‘pet assessment’ to ensure that they pose no risk to the child or children. There are certain breeds of dog that would prevent a fostering application. Owning pets other than dogs will require you to complete a questionnaire in order that your social worker can assess any potential risks.
Can I apply to foster if I’m a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?
Yes. We are supporters of the LGBTQIA+ community and gender or sexual spectrum will not impact your application to foster in any way.
Do I need to be able to drive in order to foster?
A car is preferred (and very useful) but it is not considered an essential to a foster care application.
What involvement will I have in taking the child or young person to meet their birth family?
The child or young person’s social worker will arrange all contact with birth family members. At times, foster carers will be involved in these arrangements (i.e. transporting the child to the contact venue). All arrangements are discussed and agreed in advance between foster carers, their supervising social worker and the social worker of the child or young person.
What if I feel unable to accept the placement of a child/ young person suggested by the social worker?
Your application and acceptance as a foster carer does not obligate you to take any child or young person that you are requested to foster. You and your supervising social worker will discuss and agree on the types of children any young people that you feel able to care for. The ultimate decision will always lie with you.
Is there an age requirement for foster carers?
You must be 21 and over to become a foster carer and there is no upper age limit. Please do not consider your age a barrier to application.
Do you need a spare bedroom to foster?
Although having a spare bedroom is ideal for fostering, it is not necessary. A foster child must have their own bed, but may be able to share a bedroom. The social worker will have a chat with you about your proposed sharing arrangements.
Young refugees are an exception to bedroom sharing due their often difficult journey to get here. Young refugees need their own room and space as they may have experienced a traumatic journey and may not sleep well.