Listening to foster parents, responding to your needs
Fostering is a journey and we see it as a partnership, so we make sure you don’t take the journey alone. We’re there for you every step of the way with the support, training and resources you’d expect from a large foster care specialist with over 25 years’ experience and a strong UK-wide presence.
Choose to foster with us and you’ll have the confidence and stability of working with a large and supportive team that’s keen to involve you and help you improve with excellent training, 24/7 advice, loads of activities and an extensive local support network.
Professional training and development
One thing to remember is that fostering is a professional career, and that you can develop your skills into different areas – for example, specialising in children with autism or disability, or parent and child placements.
The path you take is open to you and everyone’s different. Rest assured, we have an extensive training programme to help you along the way, delivered both face to face and via online training.
Are you thinking of transferring foster agencies?
Download the FCA’s guide to transferring foster agencies. Find out more on how to transfer to a different fostering agency and the process involved.
Generous fostering payments and rewards
At FCA, our foster parents go above and beyond for children and young people every day and we believe we should do the same for them. That’s why along with a generous fostering allowance of on average, £435 per week, our foster parents will also receive:
- A summer and winter £250 bonus payment each year
- Up to 14 nights paid respite
- A special gift or experience for each fostering milestone you hit
- Annual events to recognise and support your role as a carer
- An additional appreciation bonus each year which rises in line with length of service with us
National Foster Carer Forum
As a foster parent, you play a vital role in our organisation, and your views on how we work are really important. We continuously improve care and outcomes by creating a positive culture where our foster parents feel respected, involved and inspired to achieve their very best.
We value our foster parents’ contribution, and we’re always here to listen, to help and to engage you in shaping the future of our service. That’s why we have a foster carer forum and a network of carer reps – so that the voices of all of our foster parents are heard, listened and responded to.
Every three months, representatives from each of our regions come together at the National Carer Forum. We meet to share good practice, learn from one other and talk directly to our senior leadership team, as well as other senior staff. This enables the foster parent experience to be shared and understood throughout FCA.
Foster Parent Appreciation Day
Our foster parents do an incredible job looking after the children and young people in their care, and we want to show them just how much they’re appreciated.
Every October we say a big thank to all of our foster parents as we celebrate Foster Parent Appreciation Day. Local events across the whole of the UK are organised to say thank you to all of our foster parents, which can include lunch or afternoon tea – and there is always lots of cake. We also recognise the birth children of foster parents who play such an important role within the fostering family.
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.
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
We have access to all the support we need, from regular training opportunities to having our own mentor to walk alongside us every step of the way, offering techniques and advice. We love our foster care network and enjoy getting involved in the various activities with other like-minded carers in the same position.
1,400 foster parents accessing our support and training
Over 1,900 children and young people in our care
Nine local offices covering the whole of the UK
Foster care specialist with over 25 years’ experience