Have you considered fostering and thought about experiencing the rewards of giving a child a caring home? Would you say that you are a good listener, have a down to earth personality, a sense of humour and that you are resilient? If this sounds like you, you could be a person to transform a child's life.
Fostering is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things that you can do to help children.
Foster carers provide care for children and young people in their own home, while their parents are unable to look after them. Most children return home, so foster carers need to be able to work with parents as well as children.
Some children cannot return home and foster carers then help children move on to adoptive parents while some other children need to stay with foster carers until they are independent.
Foster carers can choose the age and gender of the child or children they look after and how long they want to foster - this could be a few days, a few months or for a longer period. Foster carers work as part of a team with people such as social workers, teachers and health professionals to help the children they look after.
We know that deciding to become a foster carer is a big decision and we are available to answer any of your questions and give you all the support and advice you need. The most important thing is that you and everyone in your household is interested in fostering, including your children if you have them.
Children are in care through no fault of their own and mainly because of their family situation - some may have been abused or neglected. Foster carers look after children so that families can have time to sort out their problems which can include physical and mental ill-health issues.
Our Fostering Team offers excellent local support and training. You will have your own social worker from the team who will offer you all the support and advice that you need. You can also choose the age and gender of the child you foster and we will only place a child that will fit in with your current home arrangements.
We also offer fostering allowances to cover the costs of looking a child and a very competitive additional payment to look after a child. If you look after some children, you could also receive a weekly payment of around £500 to look after a child.
There is no such thing as a typical foster carer. Like the children they look after, foster carers come from all sorts of different backgrounds.
It is essential that you have a spare bedroom.
You can be:
Adoption gives children who can't live with their own family, a permanent new family.
Fostering is a way of offering children a temporary home usually until they can return to their own families. Keeping some type of contact with the child's birth family is very important whilst decisions are made about their future. The foster carer is very important in helping the child to understand and cope with the situation they find themselves in.
There are many different types of fostering. Some foster carers look after babies and infants but others care for school-age children, brothers and sisters, children with special needs and disabled children. Foster carers can look after children from different age groups and backgrounds.
It can take around 6-8 months from first contacting us to become a foster carer. During this period a social worker will arrange meetings with you and other adults in your household to give you more information about fostering.
There will be opportunities for you to ask any questions about fostering and for us to find out more information about you. The social worker will discuss the most suitable type of fostering for you. At any stage you can decide if you want to continue your interest in fostering.
You will be asked to complete an application form and a number of references will be requested. These include references from friends and employers and a check with the Criminal Records Bureau. We will also write to your doctor to find out more about your general health.
The assessment period is made as easy as possible to fit in with your commitments and the information is communicated in a clear and easy to understand way. There are no examinations to complete and there is no fixed time period to complete the assessment. Your social worker will give you all the advice and support you need. However, attendance at various preparation courses is essential.
Approved foster carers will be allowed an extra bedroom, for fostering purposes, as long as they have fostered a child, or become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months. For more information and factsheets, visit our Welfare Reform page.
Every Thursday morning from 9.00am to 1.30pm, we will be holding fostering drop-in sessions for anyone interested in finding out more about fostering. The sessions will be held at The Council House on Corporation Street.
You can meet a social worker to discuss confidentially any questions about fostering. By coming along to meet us it does not commit you to applying to become a foster carer, it is just an opportunity to find out more about fostering. You do not need to book an appointment, just drop in.
Please fill in our online form or call us on 01332 718000 and we will send you a Fostering Information Pack.
Visit our Children's profiles page for examples of children who might be in care.
Visit our Support for foster carers page for information about the financial and emotional support available.