What is fostering?
Children and young people need fostering for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it’s because someone in their family is too ill to look after them, or there has been a family breakdown. Sometimes it is because they have been neglected or abused and aren’t safe. Our approved foster parents provide a safe place and the support that these children and young people need to thrive, whatever situation they have come from.
At FCA, we grow stronger and better together, helping us improve the experiences of foster parents and the children they look after.
Types of fostering
As no two children are the same, there are many different types of foster care.
Who can foster a child?
We’re looking for enthusiastic individuals from all walks of life. You don’t need fostering experience, just a positive attitude and the determination to make a real difference to a child’s life. Plus you must:
- Be over 21 years old
- Have a spare bedroom
- Have the legal right to work in the UK
What’s the difference between fostering and adoption?
Fostering and adoption are completely different. Sometimes a child or young person may only need fostering for a few days, in other circumstances, care may be longer term lasting years, which is called a long-term placement.
Adoption is always permanent. The court transfers all the parental rights for the child to their new parents, the child can take the family surname and their new family is entirely responsible for their care. Another one of the main differences is adoptive parents do not receive financial support like foster parents do.
Role of the foster parent
Fostering is different to raising your own children, so it’s important to understand the fostering process and what fostering can be like. Foster parents provide children with their every day care whilst supporting all aspects of their health, education and well-being needs.
In addition to this, foster parents attend meetings, appointments, and keep records on behalf of the child. Often foster parents also help facilitate contact with the child’s birth family.
When you foster a child or young person, their birth family or the local authority is still legally responsible for them. Usually, a child is in foster care until he or she turns 18.
There are many different kinds of foster care, as every child’s needs are different. Whether it's overnight or for a number of years, we can help you decide what option is best for you and your family. As foster parents you can provide the stability and care in a loving environment that every child needs. When you decide to become a foster parent, you will be assessed, approved and trained by us, and supported by a team of professionals.
Although your fostering journey will be hugely rewarding, it won’t always be easy, which is why we’ll give you all the guidance you need to settle in to your new way of life and make it successful.
Frequently asked questions
What is fostering?
Fostering is providing a safe and stable family home for a child or young person who can’t live with their birth family. There are many reasons why children need foster care.
Who can apply to become a foster parent?
Anyone can apply to foster with us. We welcome foster carers from all walks of life; no matter what your gender, age, race or sexual orientation. We do have criteria though:
- You need a spare room
- You need to be over 21
- You ideally need to commit to fostering full time
- You need to have British Citizenship or indefinite leave to remain
What is the process of becoming a foster parent?
Applying to become a foster parent involves a number of steps and starts when you contact us.
- Get in touch
We’ll have a chat to you talk to one of our friendly fostering advisors by calling 0800 023 4561 or filling in our enquiry form.
- We’ll visit you at home
We will arrange for one of our fostering advisors to visit you at home to talk to you in more detail and what to expect and how we will support you and find out a bit more about you.
- Start your application
If you decide you’d like to apply to foster with us, we’ll start you application process. The process involves filling in an application form and once accepted we will then undertake your fostering assessment.
- Fostering assessment
Following your application we’ll undertake a fostering assessment. Your assessing social worker will visit you and your family at home a number of times to speak to you and collect information about you and your life. It will help us to understand more about you. In addition you will attend a preparatory training course to help you learn more about fostering and how to handle different situations. The assessment process takes between four to six months.
- Meet the panel
Once your assessment is finished you will go to a fostering panel who will make their recommendation. The group is made up of people with fostering experience. Your social worker will help you prepare and be there for support. Read our blog about panel to help you understand.
Once approved the real fostering journey starts!
What training will I receive as a foster parent?
We pride ourselves on being a learning organisation and are proactive in helping both our foster parents and employees to develop their skills, knowledge and experience.
We are committed to providing high quality training that is accessible and relevant to all of our foster parents.
Got some more questions?
Find out the answers here.