Fostering is caring for a child, children or young person/s in your home where they can feel valued, cared for and respected as a family member, doing the things you do as a family together like going on days out, holidays and everyday family life activities
There are many reasons that lead to children and young people needing a foster home such as illness within the family, relationship problems, family breakdown, alcohol and/or drug issues or when a child or young person is being abused. Foster carers play a vital role in providing a safe, secure and stable environment
The length of time that children and young people are placed with families can vary from days to years depending on their individual circumstances. The decision is made by the Local Authority and forms part of the child or young person’s Care Plan.
Sarah - Futures for Children
" As an existing foster carer, it is important that you work with a company that is able to fully support both the children and foster carers. A lot of carers from Local Authorities and other Agencies come to us and feel that there could be more done for themselves and the looked after children. "
You do not need specific qualifications to become a foster carer, although some experience of caring for children, either personally or professionally, would help. The most important qualities we look for in foster carers are the enthusiasm and commitment to providing a child with a secure family environment.
All kinds of children need foster placements. They could be any age or even parents with babies. They need short or long term placements and these could be needed in an emergency or they may be planned. However, all the children and young people we place will have suffered disadvantage and many will have been abused or neglected.
No. All our placements are very carefully matched, and your assessor would discuss with you the age and type of children you would like to offer placements to, and who would fit in with your own children.
The agency would wish to discuss with you your individual situation. Many of our foster carers do continue to work. However, you will be expected to be available at times within working hours, perhaps to attend meetings or if a child placed with you is unable to attend school.
Your social worker will be available to offer you support and advice whenever you feel you need it. If they are not available for any reason, you will be able to speak to another member of the social work team who will also be able to advise you. Should you require support and advice outside office hours, we offer a 24-hour on-call service that can be accessed every day of the year.
If you and the agency decide to pursue an assessment, you will be allocated an assessor who will visit you on a number of occasions and will produce a report including your history, your family lifestyle and the kind of placements you are interested in taking. We would also undertake a number of checks on you, including DBS, local authority references and medicals.
Yes. We offer regular training, support groups and events for our foster carers at which you would have the opportunity to meet and talk to other foster carers.
Although you would be supported throughout all your placements, sometimes a placement may not work out. In this instance, your social worker would support you to achieve the best ending for both you and the young person concerned.
Yes. During the assessment process, your assessor will discuss with you in detail what kind of placements you feel you would be able to offer. The agency matches foster placements with great care and would always give you as much information as possible about any potential referrals. You are not under any obligation to take any placement if you do not feel it is appropriate for you.
Once you are approved as a foster carer, you will be allocated a qualified social worker who will provide support to you both over the telephone and by visiting on a regular basis. You would also be able to contact them any time you feel you need some advice. In addition, Fostering Options offer an out of hours service, enabling you to access support 24 hours a day every day of the year.
Yes. As part of the assessment process, you will complete our preparation training, and after you are approved as a foster carer we will support you to complete the Children’s Workforce Development Council Fostering Standards within your first year. An ongoing comprehensive training programme will be offered together with further E Learning opportunities.
A big house is not a requirement for fostering, although you would need to be able to provide a foster child with their own bedroom.
No, you do not need to have your own children, although previous experience of working with or caring for children and young people, whether in a professional or personal capacity, would be useful.
Fostering Options can provide for a wide range of placements. We can place children and young people of all ages and with a variety of needs, and can provide long and short term placements. We can also provide parent and child placements and placements for children with disabilities.
No, you do not need to be married. Some of our foster carers are married, some are single and others are in long term partnerships.