Here at FCA, we understand that getting your head around finances before applying to foster a child is important, even more so during the current cost of living crisis. Everybody’s situation is unique, and we have many foster parents who work as well as foster, however, there are a few things to think about before applying.
Fostering while working - can I foster and work?
In short yes, you can foster and work, though it does depend on the needs of the child in your care. With nearly 40% of foster parents working and fostering at the same time (The Fostering Network), we're always open to the possibility of you continuing to work, but it will need to be in the best interests of the child.
Fostering is rewarding but can be demanding, and balancing both the needs of the child and work commitments can be hard. For example, if the young person in your care is not feeling well you will need to be there to look after them. When it’s the school holidays, they’ll need to be at home with you. Therefore, some foster parents find it easier to reduce their hours to working part-time or even give up work completely. But there are occasions where it's possible to continue working. For example, school-age children or teenagers who are more independent may be able to manage if their foster parents work.
Again, much depends on the needs and age of children, but in all cases, the child's welfare, safety and needs should be front and centre. Don't hesitate to get in touch where we can talk to you in more detail about your individual circumstances.
If you do currently work, you might want to take into consideration things like:
- How flexible your employer is.
- How many hours do you currently work.
- Whether you foster as a single carer or with a partner, and if you have a strong support network.
- If you have friends and family who can help you if you need childcare in a pinch.
- What type of fostering you are interested in and the age of the children. Younger children will need more time and attention whereas teenagers and older children can be more independent.
- If you are willing to foster a child with special needs who might require more care and attention.
Download the FCA’s Beginner’s Guide to Fostering a Child to learn more about how to foster a child and the process involved.
More things to consider when fostering and working
As a foster parent, it is important that you are able to support a child with all aspects of their care. If you are hoping to keep working alongside fostering a child, it is helpful to fully consider the requirements of fostering and whether you can meet these whilst working.
A foster parent's role includes the following practical tasks when supporting a young person:
- Be available to care for the child or children, including cooking meals, washing clothes, supporting with personal care as appropriate.
- Transport the child to any health appointments.
- Transport the child to school and any extra curricular activities.
- Attend meetings in relation to the foster child.
- Attend any training to support your role as a foster parent.
- Attend support groups with other foster families.
- Support contact between a child and their family, which could mean transporting them or supervising the contact.
Children’s physical, emotional and social development needs should be met at all times to ensure their welfare, safety and needs are at the centre of their care.
If you feel you could care for a child in need then we'd love to hear from you. We will be able to talk to you about your individual circumstances and answer any questions you have.
Does a foster parent get paid for fostering?
Yes, you’ll receive a regular fostering allowance. We offer our foster parent competitive fees and allowances to reward them for their hard work. In addition to the great support and training we offer.
How much is a foster parent paid?
This varies and is based on the type of referral you have and the needs of the child in your care. On average though, our foster parents can receive approx. over £400 per child, per week.
Will I be paid in between fostering referrals?
We do not continue to pay fostering allowances in between foster referrals, however we always aim for you to have little time without a child or young person, should this be your wish.
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 kind of support will I receive?
We wouldn’t expect anyone to foster without the right support, so when you foster with FCA you are not alone.
Become a foster parent with us and you have access to:
- Social Work Support– you will have a dedicated supervising social worker who is your main point of contact and will organise monthly meetings and support for you whenever you need it
- 24 / 7 support
- Training and development - We will prepare you to foster and keep developing your skills with an ongoing training programme featuring both face to face and online courses thorough our Learnative portal.
- Events and activities – we host a range of events and activities for all the family to enjoy.
- Online portal – Join our online community with our portal The Exchange just for FCA foster parents. It gives you free and instant access to information and advice right when you need it – day or night, 365 days a year. Plus access to a range of discounts to some major retailers and online stores.
- Fostering Network membership - useful and practical benefits, including insurance, legal protection, medical and stress advice helplines, as well as a foster care magazine.
Do I get any breaks or holidays while fostering?
We do offer respite your supervising social worker can speak to you about what it entails.
What type of company is FCA?
Established in 1994, Foster Care Associates (FCA) is proud to be one of the largest fostering agencies in the UK. We are part of the Polaris community and our core vision is to make a positive and lasting difference for looked after children and families. With the interests of children and young people at the heart of everything we do, we work closely with local authorities to provide caring, loving and stable fostering homes, but we always go the extra mile for our foster parents and children.
What is the difference between a fostering agency and the local authority?
Although we work alongside the local authorities, there are four key differences between fostering with your local authority and fostering with independent fostering agencies like FCA:
- The age of the children needing fostering through private agencies is generally higher than those available with local authorities.
- Foster parent allowances with FCA and other private fostering agencies are often significantly higher than those of local authorities.
- Levels of support vary between local authorities and private fostering agencies, with local authorities not offering the same level of support.
- We offer a therapeutic approach that provides looked after children with the additional, intensive support they need to thrive called Team Parenting®
We work very closely with local authorities to find suitable foster parents for children within their care when they are unable to place a child with one of their own approved foster parents.