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You probably have questions

We try to answer the most common question people have about becoming foster carers – however, if you want to ask something else, just use the chat box below.

Almost anyone can become a foster carer, as long as you have the passion, time and energy to care for a child, then we’d love to hear from you.

Fostering isn’t always easy, so it’s not something that you should go into lightly, it’s important to really understand the impact it will have on your life, and the best way to do this is give us a call 🙂

Fostering is about providing a family life for a child when they can no longer live with their birth family. Children in foster care are between the ages of 0 and 18. They might stay with a foster family for just a few days, months or years.  The most common reason is that the child has suffered neglect at home, and the courts have decided that it’s better for them to live with a different family.

At Fostering Hearts, our carers provide a range of different types of care. It could be an emergency fostering placement, or planned. It could be a short term or long term. We also offer specialist types of fostering including parent & child placements, remand fostering and disability fostering.

Fostering agencies offer different levels and types of support. As a carer for Fostering Hearts, you can call your social worker 24/7. Their role is to support you.

We also run support groups and regular training, We think it’s important to be able to meet and connect with other carers.

You will also receive financial support to carer for a child.
£390 to care for a child 0-10 years old
£413 to care for a child 11+

The assessment process will generally take around 4-6 months to complete. We need to get to know you, your family, and your support network. It’s a very responsible position to care for a child, so we need to know you are ready and able.  During this time, we will also carry out a number of checks, including local authorities in which you live/lived, police checks, and employer and personal references.

Once you have had a visit from one of our recruitment officers and attended our 2 day training course, you might decide to apply to foster. The application form is completed online.

Believe it or not, it’s not actually the children.

There is a lot of red tape involved with fostering a child in care, and you will have to work with lots of different professionals. This can sometimes be frustrating for you as a foster carer.

1 of our key roles is to help you navigate the system, so it’s as frustration free as possible.

I work?

Even if you are working full time, fostering is still a possibility. Fostering isn’t a stable source of income so many of our carers do continue to work. However, you may need to demonstrate flexibility and understanding with your employer. It is important that all our foster carers have a support network who can help out, occasionally. This might be helping with the school run, for example.

Our priority is ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the children in care, so we need to know there will be someone looking after the foster child before and after school, and during school holidays.

I don’t have a spare room?

In order to become a foster carer, you do need to have a spare bedroom. It is really important that a foster child has their own bedroom, as this is their privacy and space.

The only exception to this is in the case of fostering babies under the age of 2, who can share a foster carer’s bedroom. We don’t recruit foster carers who don’t have a spare bedroom as an agency, we don’t receive that many referrals to foster babies.

I am retired?

There is no maximum age limit to be able to foster. So, as long as you are at least 21 years old, you would be eligible to foster. We’ve had foster carers in their 60s and 70s who have been fantastic. As long as you have the energy and are in good health, we would welcome you as a foster carer.

A lot of people who have retired, find they have the time to commit to looking after children in need. Fostering is a 24/7 job and it can be very time-demanding so not having a job to go to, can be perfect!

I have a conviction?

No one is perfect and some people may have a criminal conviction from their past. It might surprise you that if you do have a conviction, you may still be able to foster. The only direct ‘no’ is if that conviction relates to a sexual nature or against a child. Anything else will be assessed on a personal basis. As long as you are open and honest, we will judge you fairly.

A lot of people have learnt from their mistakes and once becoming a foster carer, have been able to turn them into a positive by mentoring the young people they are fostering.

I’m not British?

You don’t have to be British to be able to foster, but you do need to be living in the UK, full time. Children come into care, from all walks of like and our foster families reflect this – different cultural backgrounds, religions, languages etc.

The reason why we ask that you are living in the UK full time, is so we can ensure the children you are fostering, have a level of stability, in where they live. If you have only been in the UK for a short period of time, you would need to have indefinite leave to remain.

Someone in my household smokes?

Smoking does not exclude you from fostering but it will mean there are certain limitations. If approved with Fostering Hearts, you will only be able to foster children over the age of 5. We believe children have a right to live in a smoke free environment so we have a rule of no smoking inside the house or in a car that a foster child might travel in.

I am single?

Relationship status does not affect your ability to foster – it doesn’t matter if you are single, married, divorced, in a long-term relationship. It won’t affect your ability to look after children. Families come in all shapes and sizes, so we won’t judge the size of your family.

Whether you are single or married, it’s important to have a support network who can help in your fostering journey.

I am LGBT+?

Your sexuality has no effect on your ability to look after children, so yes, definitely. The LGBT community is substantially under represented in fostering, and this is something we are trying to address. If you are LGBT+ and interested in fostering, please do contact us.

Your sexuality does not matter to us. What matters is that you can offer a loving home to a child in care.

I have pets?

Having pets does not stop you from being able to foster. In fact, pets can be a great asset to a foster family! For many of us, including children, pets can be very therapeutic. We have heard stories of children chatting to their pets, which is fantastic.

However, there are a few breeds of dog which we would consider too much of a risk – dogs that have the ability to lock their jaws.

Whatever pet you have, we would carry out a risk assessment. We want to ensure that our foster children are in a caring, hygienic environment.

I travel a lot?

We all need a break, or a change of scenery, sometimes. We think it’s great when foster children can go on holiday with their foster carers. Provided you have permission from the child’s social worker, and they have a passport if needed, then holidays are fantastic.

If, however, you are travelling abroad regularly throughout the week, you may need to think about how this will fit in with your fostering responsibilities. You would also need to think about what happens if the child you are fostering, is unable to travel with you.

You do not need an official childcare qualification to be a foster carer. We just ask that you have some experience in looking after children. We think that the more experience you have, the more have to reflect on.

Experience might come in different forms – formally, it might be that you have worked with children, perhaps in a school or nursery. Aside from professional childcare, you might not realise just how much experience you have. Think about the time spent raising your own family, or simply looking after family members and babysitting.

During your time as a foster carer, you will have lots of opportunities to attend training courses. We have over 100 courses available, so we can be sure our foster carers have what it takes to be the best that they can.

All foster carers will receive a weekly payment, when they have a child living with them. No one fosters just for the money, but the extra financial support makes it that bit easier. For some, it makes fostering a possibility.

You will not pay tax on the majority of your fostering pay and allowance. If you have several permanent placements, then there may be a small tax to pay. We know tax can be complicated, so Fostering Hearts helps its foster carers with their tax returns.

As part of the assessment process, your social worker will discuss things like the number of children you are approved for, and the age range. We will take into consideration your skills and experience, and preference of things like age and religion. Ultimately, the more flexible you are, the more fostering opportunities you will have.