foster carer

Who are we?
Want to make a difference? Thinking of fostering children? Not sure who to contact? We can help.

We are a free practical help, advice and information service for people interested in child care and starting a career as a foster carer.

We are qualified and registered independent social workers with over 30 years experience of child fostering and adoption in the UK.

Since 2008, we have been helping people to get fostering right first time.

Watch our Simply Fostering video about who we are and what we can do for you.

foster carer mother

I’m new to fostering
Don’t worry, take some time to look through our comprehensive website, you’ll find all you need to know to help decide your next step, and how you can apply to become a foster carer.

Our website has all the information and facts you need to know to help reduce any confusion by answering all questions you might have.

If you find it’s right for you, take a minute to contact us, then download our free Handbook.

We’ll help you to find a suitable child fostering agency on our national membership database, wherever you live in the UK.

lady foster children

I’m a foster carer, help!
Are you having problems with your agency or just thinking about a change? Is this the right time to find out more, or start the process? Then use our free transfer service!

We specialise in helping approved carers, with or without children in placement, in the transfer process.

Ian will work with you in complete confidence to find the best agency for you and your family.

Contact Ian to start the discussion about what you need and how to improve your support, number of placements, respite, fees and allowances.

About you, would you make a great carer?

Fostering children

different types of fostering children

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, nurturing 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?

Yes?

Then your personal experiences, maturity and attributes will help you to be a successful foster carer.

Nurtured children

But I’ve no experience…

Ok, you might or might not have any actual experience of fostering children, but you have a lot of resources and skills it takes to work with people. So if you’re interested in a new career, you have the potential to be a foster carer.

Maybe my life experience means I could…

Now you know you’re 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 supporting and keeping safe from harm, doesn’t mind how old you might be.

Neither do agencies, you just need to be 21 or over, and fit and well.

Complete our form, and see how we can help!

Send us mail

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  • National Fostering Information

What is Fostering?

Fostering in the UK means giving a child or young person a safe and caring home for as long as it takes to fix the reason why they can’t live with their family. The child’s local authority is legally responsible for their safety, however if there are no in-house foster carers available, a request is made to the authority’s preferred local independent fostering agency.

Most of the children and young people who need foster care have been abused or are at risk of being abused and can’t continue living with their family. Placements are usually short term, and when the time is right, children will return home or be placed with extended family members depending on an assessment of their suitability.

There is also long term care for children who cannot return home for the foreseeable future. Some children may be adopted, and some young people will take the next step to live independently.

After a comprehensive assessment adults become approved foster carers who are classed as self employed for tax purposes, and contracted to work with their approving agency. The approval sets out the type and categories of care the foster carer can provide in their their family home.

A carer’s approval is reviewed annually to look at any needs the carer might have, the quality of care being provided, and support available from the agency.

Independent (Private) 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 reasonable reward element, which is often enough for people to consider being full or part time carers.

  • Foster Carers

Why more carers?

There are 8,000 foster carer vacancies.The national shortage means that social services have less carers to choose from, which can cause problems matching children with the right carers, raising the risk of placements breaking down and children having to be moved around from home to home, in some cases splitting them up from their brothers and sisters. The next Fostering placement might be a long way from their family and friends.

The more people approved improves the chance of social services finding the best match for a child in terms of location, culture, lifestyle, language and interests.

More carers means reducing the harm that instability causes to the most vulnerable children in our society.

Foster carers provide the best service for children who can’t live at home, that’s a fact. Children and teenagers need to be cared for for many different reasons, maybe because of a crisis in the child’s family or abuse, alcohol or drug addictions or parents who are unable to cope.

There are vacancies for short and long term carers where you live! Start the process, it’s up to you how far you go!

Choosing an agency

Get it right first time. “The Government, national fostering institutions and research recommend that people interested in fostering should contact more than one agency when they make their first enquiries about fostering”.

About 15% of carers give up or transfer between agencies every year because the foster carer’s relationship with their independent agency or Local Authority has become problematic.

Often the cause can be traced back to the foster carer choosing the wrong agency by not comparing the different packages other agencies had on offer and the support that would have suited them best.

If you become approved, you will be self employed, however you must be aware that unless there are certain circumstances, you can only work fostering children, with the agency who holds your approval.

Importantly, if things don’t turn out what was promised or expected, the problems that come up can cause a breakdown in relationships, and transferring to another agency will require going through another assessment. However, every foster carer has the right of transfer.

  • Fostering

Is being a foster carer for you?

Do you want to be part of a child’s upbringing, and make a real difference in children’s lives. Do you want to help keep them safe from more harm?

Yes? Then being a foster carer might be for you, because UK foster parents come from all backgrounds and with a range of experiences just like yours. So contact us and find out more!

Different types
When thinking about fostering children, you should begin to consider the categories of placements that would fit with you and your family, and the types of placements you might want to care for such as babies, children, teenagers, mother and baby, asylum seekers, special needs children, or a mix of different types.

You can be approved for one or all of the categories which include respite, short term or long term placements, depending on your decision and suitability. Usually the broader your approval means more choice because of the higher number of placements being offered by the agency.

Getting approved
If you take the next step, after your assessment which takes about 4 months, you will be approved by your agency Panel, then registered as an approved foster carer by your agency.

After approval – Fostering children
This is when the changes start to happen, some people give up work or go part time, a new foster carer’s agency social worker will be allocated, and that all important first placement will be made.

All that training and life experience comes together to make sure that the looked after child doesn’t feel different, isn’t to blame or a burden. Because most of all, they want to live like other children, be treated fairly, feel wanted and to have the opportunity to stay in touch with their family.

Sounds easy? Actually it can be hard work because it takes persistence, empathy, skill, knowledge and a ‘no give up attitude’ to create the trusting place where an often distressed and confused child can express their feelings, feel listened to, develop trust and start to settle in a stranger’s home.

Then there’s the meetings with social workers, the appointments, foster care training events to attend, and managing contact arrangements with the children’s family.

So looking after other people’s children takes more than being a parent, but people already doing the job will tell you that the rewards far outweigh the work involved and that importantly, life changes for the better and everyone in the fostering family benefits from their experiences.

So why not find out more?

  • Agencies

Fostering agency matching service

All agencies will say their support is brilliant. But in reality what does this mean? Agency support is about a foster carer being given the knowledge and 24 hour support to provide skillful, confident and valued care, so that people enjoy being a foster carer, and can get through some of the difficult times.

Agency support is about being in touch with carers on a regular basis, both by phone, email, and home visits to supervise and discuss any concerns any of the family might have, and to make sure extra support is waiting in the wings if necessary.

Agency support should also include Carer Support Groups when an agencies arrange groups of carers to get together to share experiences and offer mutual support. It’s important to know how frequent they are, how are they organised and what the groups discuss. Properly organised and run, these groups can be an invaluable resource for a carer. If not they quickly become poorly attended and a waste of time.

Carers are responsible for working closely with their agency to provide a safe, nurturing family environment and they are usually expected to help foster children to stay in touch with their birth family. To meet these requirements, carers need to feel valued and listened to in a positive, confident, trusting and professional relationship.

So, using our knowledge of the agencies in your area we will;

Check the information on your enquiry form;
Identify the fostering agencies on our national database who are recruiting;
Match your details then forward your information to those agencies;
Request that the agencies contact you within three working days using the method you identified in your enquiry form;
Support from us will be available as long as it is needed.

A message to you

Dear potential foster carer

Thank you for visiting us and your interest in the welfare of children. We hope we are encouraging you to find out more about what fostering is and how it could change your life.

Read on for more information or contact us today if it’s the right time to take the next step and we’ll help you to get the best possible start.

Our no obligation, National Fostering Service is completely free and confidential.

If you complete our enquiry form you will receive our Simply Foster Care Handbook, a comprehensive guide to fostering, which is yours to keep,

kind regards

The Simply Fostering Team.

Contact us today. Take the next step and receive your FREE Fostering Handbook

Testimonials

What people say to us

Hi Annette, a big thank you, we got approved last week and and we’re looking forward to having our first foster child who is coming soon. The agency we chose has been great and our social worker is lovely. Take care,
Simon and Jo

After filling in the form we were called by two local agencies who wanted to visit next day so we met them and chose  ‘………’  because they could help us to foster even if I had to keep on working for a while,
Anika and Jay

Hi Ian, I want to say thank you for all you did to help me change my fostering agency, I would not have been able to do it without your professional, honest and friendly help and advice,
Rose

‘A Family Less Ordinary’ Blog

Diary of a foster carer

Fostering children BLOG

I am so glad that I was at home

So it started off as a ‘normal’ school day. So it started off as a ‘normal’ school day. Rushing around trying to get bags and coats and school books ready so that Annie can be out of the door at 8.15am and I can get out with Lauren and Alice by 8.30am for the school […]