Fostering frequently asked questions
You need to be calm, warm and welcoming and able to take problems in your stride. You'll need to have patience and time to listen and understand things from a child's point of view. You'll be able to provide a safe space for our children to grow and flourish. You will be open to attending regular training to increase your skills and knowledge.
Yes - if you don't have a spare room to accommodate a foster child or have a serious criminal conviction we would not be able to progress your application.
Adoption means taking a child into your home permanently and legally as part of your family. Fostering is offering either a temporary or permanent home to a child or children until they either return home or move into independence.
You must have a separate bedroom available for a foster child. Sometimes foster siblings can share a room.
Fostering involves your whole family, although we appreciate that in many situations one of the adults is often the main carer. Birth children sometimes find it difficult to share their homes and families. We offer a support group and activities to help children adapt.
You'll need to keep some written records (ie a foster carer diary sheets) of the child's time with you, but we'll give you guidance on how to do this. It quickly becomes a straightforward task to complete.
We want our children to be as healthy as possible.
Being a smoker would not rule you out as a foster carer, but we do follow recognised national guidelines. We don't place children under five or those with physical conditions that could be adversely affected by a smoky environment in smoking homes. Your social worker would discuss this with you during the assessment process.
If you, or someone in your household, has been convicted of serious offences you cannot foster. It's best to be honest about minor offences or convictions during the application process so we can talk it through together. The type of conviction, the circumstances, and the length of time elapsed since the conviction will all be taken into account. Some foster carers may have had difficult episodes when they were young adults. This has not prevented them from fostering.
We will provide you with all available information about the child's history and behaviour. It's essential for you to understand what the child needs and to help you care for them safely.
This may involve telephone calls and/or occasional visits. You will often be asked to support these visits and will often have an opportunity to meet the child's birth parents. You and your social worker will be involved in deciding how this would work best for everybody.
We like to try and keep things familiar for our foster children, including going to their regular school with their friends. For long-term placements children may transfer to a school within your community. We always take the child's individual circumstances into account and discuss with you as their foster carer. This is one of the reasons for wanting to secure local foster carers for local children in Wiltshire.
We'll discuss options with you and your family during the matching process and before you agree to care for a child. Too many moves can be damaging for children, so if you experience problems we will support you to find a solution. Sometimes the only option is to move the child(ren), but with every move there is likely a sense of rejection or trauma, so we work very hard to try and prevent this from happening.
Yes, mostly. We encourage you to include your foster child on your family holiday but there are a few circumstances when it may not be possible, which your social worker can discuss with you. An annual holiday allowance is payable for each child/young person living with you. This is a contribution towards additional costs of holidays. If it's not possible for a young person to join you, we will consider other suitable alternatives with you, which might include extended family care or a respite foster carer.
Some carers work and still foster. It depends on individual circumstances, we need to consider the age of your foster child, the type of fostering required, whether you are a single carer or can balance childcare duties between you and your partner whilst working.
The government gives generous tax allowances for fostering, which means that most foster carers pay no or very little tax on their fostering allowances and fees. The foster carer allowance covers the needs of your foster child. You are not classed as our employee but as being self-employed and must register with HMRC. Visit GOV.UK: HM Revenue Customs for guidance.
The assessment process helps to explore your strengths and what you and your family can offer a child. You and your assessing social worker will agree what suits you and your family and the social worker will recommend this to the foster panel as part of the assessment approach.
Foster children's behaviour can be affected by their experiences and living away from home. Being part of a secure, family environment is the best way to help them to feel settled. Every foster carer receives support, training and guidance on how to manage difficult situations and support the child. It can be difficult, but it is also very rewarding to see each child overcome adversity and flourish while in your care - it is an amazing feeling and what keeps many of our carers fostering for years and years.
Foster carer, Bea, said:
If you're thinking of fostering, go ahead and start the ball rolling, because you've got nothing to lose and an awful lot to gain.