What is Fostering
Fostering is a way of providing family life for someone else’s child in your own home when they are unable to live with their birth family. The Foster carer and their family provides a warm and caring attitude towards the looked after child by welcoming him or her to their house. This opens space for effective communication and trust which enables the child to settle in a new environment.
Fostering makes positive and lasting differences to the lives of children or young people. Carers contribute towards the social, educational, health and overall development of the child.
- Nationally there is estimated to be around 27,000 Foster Carers
- At any given time there are 60,000 children being “looked after” by foster families
- It is estimated that there is a shortage of around 10,000 foster carers
- In addition, the foster carer population is ’ageing’, with many approaching retirement.
Benefits of becoming a Foster Carer include:
– Making a difference to a child’s life
– Experiencing a sense of achievement from helping others
– Enjoying having children in your life
– Gaining satisfaction from helping a child learn and develop
– Having an opportunity to use your parenting or life skills
– Helping your own family learn to share and care for others
– Taking on a fresh challenge, whatever your age
Different types of fostering
Fostering can be short term or long term, and fostering can last for days, months or years. Many children return home to their birth families, but others may receive long term support, either through continued fostering, adoption, residential care, or by being helped to live independently.
Fostering with Fostering Innovations
Fostering Innovations is an Independent Fostering Agency that believes in working in partnership and introducing innovative and rewarding ideas to supports the carers to achieve the best outcomes for the looked after children. Fostering Innovations carers are part of a professional and dedicated team and we offer them comprehensive training, an impressive fostering allowance and dedicated 24 x 7 one-to-one support – from our staff, mentors and social workers. Fostering Innovations, ensure our foster carers offer children and young people the security and stability they need to build themselves a stronger, happier, more secure future.
What makes us different from others
- Team of young, experienced and motivated professionals
- Fast approach to achieve solution to problems
- Believe in partnership and team working ethos
- Believe in growth, learning and development of others
- Focused on child learning and development
Why do children need foster care?
There are many factors that may lead to children being fostered. Children may come into care due to illness, relationship problems, family breakdown, or perhaps a situation where the child’s welfare is threatened.
What you need before you can foster
- You’ll need a spare bedroom, to provide privacy to the looked after child
- You’ll need to be able to commit to the time and support the children and young people need to reach their potential
- You must be over 21 years of age to foster
- Do not have a criminal conviction against children or of a sexual nature.
Who can apply to be a foster carer?
Anyone can apply to become a foster carer. Fostering Innovations welcome foster carers who are single, married, co-habiting, divorced, gay, lesbian and heterosexual. Fostering Innovations welcome carers from different religions and a variety of ethnic groups.
Can I still go out to work and be a foster carer?
We believe that the highest quality care, which we consider every one of our children and young people need, can only be achieved by having one carer at home full time. However, in some circumstances where there is a single carer, you may be able to continue to work, depending upon your specific situation. We will make every effort to be flexible to your circumstances whilst ensuring that the delivery of the highest quality foster care remains our primary target.
Can I choose which age group or sex I would prefer to foster?
Yes, you can. However, you need to bear in mind that the majority of children referred for Fostering are in the 11+ age group. If you are relying on income from fostering, you are far more likely to have continuous placements if you are willing to take teenagers as well as younger children. Children and young people taken into care can be anything from 0-18 years old.
How much fee/allowance will I receive and how is this decided?
Your weekly fostering allowance intended to cover living costs such as food, clothes, basic travel and household bills. There is also a reward element for the foster carer in recognition of the demands of the fostering task. Fostering allowance / income has no impact on your benefits.
Foster carers work on a ‘self employed’ basis. Foster carers receive very favourable tax treatment on income derived solely from fostering. In 2003 HMRC set up a tax scheme for foster carers to simplify the calculation of their taxable income by comparing a ‘Qualifying Amount’ to their total fostering income.
Recruitment and Approval
Fostering Innovations will operate a duty system that responds to all enquires and requests from individuals and couples to be considered as foster carers. The following actions will be taken:
- An initial screening telephone interview.
- Basic information is sent about our fostering services to help people decide whether they wish to proceed.
- If they proceed a home visit is undertaken by a Director or Area Fostering Co-ordinator to explain the agency’s processes and policies.
- Then an application is completed and a request is made for information about the applicant, their family and any other person involved. Criminal bureau, local authority and a range of other checks are undertaken.
- All applicants attend a 3-day Skills to Foster course. This has been developed for the agency by an experienced external consultant. A follow-up day is provided to help them understand the practical role of fostering.
- Those who attend the course then decide whether they wish to proceed, and Fostering Innovations decided whether they wish to proceed with the prospective carer’s application.
Assessments will be carried out by social workers. Our social work assessments will follow the competency based assessment method. This means that applicants are asked to demonstrate their competence to become approved foster carers. Throughout the assessment information is gathered using the British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) assessment form – Form F. The assessment, which consists of a series of interviews, takes place in the applicant’s home, usually over a period of 6-8 sessions.
The assessment focuses on the individuals applying to become foster carers and their family. We will make a detailed assessment of their past experiences and help them to think about their reasons for applying to become foster carers.
Fostering Innovations will take up four references, plus employee/ landlord references/school/health visitor/children and ex-partners. At least two referees are visited in person.
Applicants do not have to be professionals. However, they need to have a willingness to care for children/young people between the ages of 0-21 years who cannot live with their family and are in need of alternative care. They must be able to demonstrate that they want and can make a difference to young people. They must be able to provide a room in their home to accommodate children or young people.
Throughout the assessment process applicants are advised and helped to gather information and evidence providing examples of their relevant experiences and skills. This contributes to the assessment process and informs the Form F which is presented to the Fostering Panel.
The Fostering Panel
Fostering Innovations Panel has a key role to play in the agency’s decision-making process. They are governed by the regulations that are set out under the National Minimum Standards, Guidance and Regulations 2011. The panel is independent of Fostering Innovations and has a remit to make recommendations about the approval of foster carers to the Agency Decision Maker. The Panel also considers all reviews of foster carer’s ongoing approval. Carers attend their first review and every third review after this. Other reviews are presented to Panel in the form of written reports.
A Panel List of members with a wide range of professional and personal experience is available to draw upon and an independent foster carer is also included in every Panel. Where there are complaints relating to foster families, the Fostering Panel will be consulted and may recommend to the Agency Decision Maker what action needs to be taken by the agency.
Reviewing Foster Carers
The first annual review is conducted within a year after approval and presented to the Fostering Innovations Panel. Based on this report they are able to make a recommendation about the foster carer’s fitness to remain registered and any changes required to their approval. Carers are required to attend Panel for their first review and every third review after this. All other reviews are conducted by Fostering Innovations on an annual basis and the report submitted to a Panel.