Previous financial problems should not affect your chances of fostering. However, you will need to submit proof that you are now financially capable of providing a stable home for any children that you wish to foster and that you are able to manage the fostering payments paid to you.
If you are currently claiming welfare benefits you are likely to be able to continue them. Fostering payments when a child is placed with a foster carer are disregarded when calculating welfare benefits, however, with the benefits system changing it would be advisable to speak to the Department of Work and Pensions about your entitlement to benefits as a foster carer.
Foster carers are identified as self-employed for tax purposes. There is a simplified income tax scheme for foster carers known as ‘qualifying care relief’. The scheme uses an income threshold to evaluate how much tax (if any) is due. For further information about tax and national insurance visit the gov.uk link provided http://search2.hmrc.gov.uk/kb5/hmrc/forms/view.page?record=6N0xYCRFe_E&formId=3686
Yes. The Department of Education publishes a weekly recommended minimum allowance for fostering in England. Foster carers have a duty of using the allowance to cover costs of looking after a child in care such as clothing, food and pocket money.
The health and wellbeing of children is a priority and the Government states they want children to be protected from the harmful effects of smoking. Most fostering services have their own policies surrounding smoking which is taken into consideration when any child is placed with you. Foster carers are given support to stop smoking or are unlikely to be able to foster certain groups of children under five and those with certain health conditions. All foster carers should provide a smoke-free environment for children they wish to welcome into their home.
Depending on your circumstances you may be able to work part-time. Every fostering service will have their own policy regarding foster carers working, however, for the most part you will be expected to remain available to care for the child, attend meetings, training sessions and to promote and support contact between a child and their family.
You will need an acceptable level of spoken and written English in order to effectively communicate with professionals, support children’s education and make notes and keep records.
You are required to have a spare room to foster a child to ensure they have the space and privacy that is necessary.
Where possible, we try to keep children from the same family together, this is to prevent any stress or tension the child may experience.
This is a possibility, however, in some instances you’ll find that some children fit in better with a family than others, some children need more time to adjust to living in your home and sometimes things might not work out for you and the child. This may be resolved with extra support or training, conversing with your social worker or the child moving to another family.
The Government states that they want to see more people from different beliefs and faiths, from all sections of the community coming forward to foster. However, it is important that a child gets placed with foster carers who are able to meet their needs and they are more likely to if their religious and/or ethnic background is taken into consideration. To sum up, it doesn’t matter what your religion is as this should not affect your application to foster but you will need to take into account that a child may have an alternative religious belief or sexuality than yourself and how would you respond to it.
Absolutely. The fostering service will want a discussion surrounding how you would balance the needs of your own child with those that you foster. They will also view the impact fostering a child may have on your own child.
Depending on your circumstances and how many spare bedrooms you have, the law states in England that you can foster up to a maximum of three children.
Fostering will involve your entire family and will affect your children. Often, it can be tough for children to share their parents with other children which is why it is important to continue to make time for your own children and give them the correct attention they require. Research suggests that it is preferable to have a reasonable age gap between your children and those you foster.
As part of the assessment to become a foster carer discussions will take place surrounding the appropriate age range, the number of children you will be approved to foster, and any other relevant considerations. In theory placements tend to be well-matched and planned, however, the foster carer has the right to refuse placements.
A social worker will provide support and guidance during your fostering journey. They will aim to keep in regular contact with you, your family and children or young people in placement through frequent visits, emails and telephone calls.
The difference between fostering and adoption is the legal aspect of it. For example, fostering a child means they remain the legal responsibility of the local authority whereas adopting a child ends the legal relationship with their birth family.
On average it will take around 6-8 months before you are approved and can begin the process.