Free fostering service – How our process works
Is fostering for you – Could you foster a child?
Just take a minute to think about yourself
Think about your life experience, how you were bought up, the good times and the not so good and how you fixed problems along the way.
Remember your successes, how you coped with failures and how people helped you to become the person you are today.
Now ask yourself…
Have you been fair and caring, did you try to keep friendships and were you able to see other people’s side of things and help them solve problems. Were you able to hide your feelings when it was necessary and did helping come naturally?
Then you have the personal experiences, maturity and attributes required to be a foster carer.
But I’ve no experience…
Ok, you might or might not have any actual experience of fostering a child, but you have a lot of the resources and skills it takes to work with people.
So if you are interested in fostering children, you have the potential to be a foster carer.
Maybe my life experience means I could…
Now you know you are eligible, don’t let those doubtful feelings get in the way because when you do what comes naturally, a caring career will give you more happiness, self-satisfaction and independence.
What about my age…
Oh, and a child who needs keeping safe from harm, doesn’t mind how old you are. Neither do agencies, you just need to be 21 or over, and fit and well.
Fostering help – Who we are – What we do
Simply Fostering – Who are we?
We are a free support service if you are interested in fostering children, or if you’re an existing foster carer.
I’m new to this
Find out here how to foster, and if it’s for you, we will help you to find the most suitable agencies with vacancies on our UK Database.
I want to change my agency
Contact us and a qualified social worker will find you a more suitable agency on our Database.
Fostering is a child care service provided by foster carers in their family home. Fostering provides an opportunity for children and young people to be safe and to experience a positive, loving family life. Foster care is for children and young people at risk of harm and who can’t live with their parents or carers.
Foster placements are usually for short term, temporary care to give parents time and the help to fix problems or to help children or young people who need help during difficult times in their lives.
When the problems are resolved well enough, and the parents and/or social services feel it’s the right time, children will return home providing their parents are able to look after them safely.
There is also long term care for children who cannot return home for the foreseeable future, some children may be adopted, and young people will take the next step to live independently.
Fostering placements are provided by foster carers who are self employed people contracted to the agency who approved them. Independent (Private) Fostering Agencies pay an allowance of around £400 a week to carers for each child or young person they look after.
The allowance covers the day to day needs of the child and includes a substantial reward element, which pays enough money for people to consider being full or part time, professional carers.
Do you want to make a difference by fostering children, and keeping them safe from more harm? UK carers come from all backgrounds and with a range of experiences just like yours; parents, child minders, youth workers, teachers, nurses, social workers and adults with parenting experience.
If you take the next step, you will be assessed and approved by an agency panel to care for, promote and encourage children. You will be classed as self employed and working from home as a full or part time professional carer , fostering children in the care services in your area.
You can choose from the different types of children you look after such as babies, children, teenagers, mother and babies, asylum seeking children or a mix of different types. You can be a respite, short term or long term carer and the income you get will depend on the number of children you care for.
A looked after child doesn’t want to be seen as different, they want to live like other children and want to stay in touch with their family. The children need to know why they are in foster care, they want to be listened to and most of all, they want to be treated honestly, fairly and with respect.
Who we work with
Local authority (LA) or an Independent agency?
Independent agencies appeared in the early nineties.
They became necessary because Local authorities (councils) couldn’t find or hold on to enough foster carers for all their children needing care.
LAs always try to use their own carers first so LA carers can have more regular placements, but agencies usually take children from a much wider area which improves the number of placements available.
Agencies might specialise in baby placements, teenagers, children with special needs, mother and baby or long term placements.
Agency foster carer’s allowances and carer’s fees are usually larger.
Independent agency social workers are more available than LA’s because they have a better ratio of workers to foster carers.
Foster carer training courses, and support groups are more available.
Council fostering allowance and payments
Council (local authority) foster carers can be paid two types of payments, a weekly allowance to pay for the cost of looking after a child, and a separate amount to reward the carer for the job they do.
The allowance, which is paid according to the child’s age, ranges from £209 for fostering a 16 to 17-year-old in London, to £119 a week for fostering a baby outside of London and the south-east.
The Fostering Network (UK’s leading charity), found that a fifth of council foster carers said their fostering allowance did not cover the costs of caring for a child.
Councils do not have to pay their foster carers any reward element, and there are no government guidelines about the reward that should be paid. The Fostering Network’s research found that 47% of UK foster carers are paid something, however 53% said they get nothing.
Simply Fostering members are from the Independent agency sector.