I have children of my own – how will they be affected by Fostering?
The simple answers is a lot, both positive and sometimes negative. It is very important that your children are happy with your decision to foster, regardless fo their age from toddlers to teenagers to your adult children. Fostering involves the whole family and daily life so we would advise you to chat to them about it and see how they feel. We can help you with this too.
I am single and have never had children of my own – will I be able to foster?
Yes of course! We have a wide range of foster carers who all have different family and personal circumstances. Many foster carers are single (male and female) and some have not had children of their own. We will look with you to see what experience you do have of child care maybe within your wider family.
Am I too old or too young to become a foster carer?
Probably not! Foster carers can be from 21 to 71! We recently approved foster carers aged 71 & 72 and we do have carers in their 20’s. What matters most is that you have the time, space and love to help a child in care.
I smoke or my son who lives with us smokes; will this affect my application?
If anyone in your house smokes, you will not be considered to care for children under 5 years of age, or for children who have certain medical conditions such as asthma. Smoking may not prevent you from becoming an approved foster carer but we will discuss health and safety issues around smoking with you at your home visit.
Can my own children share a bedroom so that our family can foster?
We would not consider it appropriate for your own children to move and share a bedroom so that you can foster.
I don’t own my own house – does that matter?
No, you do not have to own your home to become a foster carer. You may live in council or privately rented accommodation.
What’s the difference between adoption and fostering?
Fostering is very different to adoption. Adoption provides a permanent home for children and is a legal procedure in which all parental responsibility is transferred to the adopters. Once an adoption order has been granted it can’t be reversed except in extremely rare circumstances. An adopted child then loses all legal ties with their birth parents and becomes a full member of the new family, usually taking the family’s name. There are currently around 66 children in Warrington, Wigan and St.Helens who need forever families to help them flourish. You can find out more about adoption from our colleagues at WWiSH.
How long do my partner and I need to be together before we apply to foster?
You will need to have lived together for around 2 years before you apply to become a foster carer.
Our son/daughter is at University; can we use their bedroom for a fostered child?
We would not expect your son/daughter to give up their room to allow you to foster as they are likely to return at certain times such as holidays and even return full time once they have finished their education. Many of our foster carers chose to foster once their children left for university but we always advise that the room you are thinking of using must be a real spare bedroom.
What contact will we have with birth parents and families?
The simple answer is lots! As a foster carer, you will be dealing with birth parents and families on a regular basis. This will be through contact sessions, where the child will have contact with their parents and/or extended family, meetings, reviews, parents evenings etc. You will need to be non judgemental and deal with families in a professional manner. We provide full training and support on contact and how to manage it effectively so don’t worry. Contact is never carried out in your own home, it will be held in a contact centre and supervised by social work staff.
I work full time, can I still foster?
It would be very difficult if applying as a single carer, to work full time and foster. If a couple, one of you could work full time but if you were both working full time it would be difficult to work full time unless your job was very flexible. You need to be available to collect children from school, be there in the school holidays, transport to contact and attend other meetings and regular training.
I would like to give up work and foster full time but need an income; is this possible?
The allowances you receive from fostering are not considered an income and are therefore not fully taxable. We cannot guarantee the fostering allowance paid to you to care for the child as there may be periods were you do not have a child in placement and you will not receive the allowance.
Can a child come away on holiday with us?
Yes, we want our children in care to experience holidays and family life. Permission may need to be sought from parents or Court but this is rarely a problem.
My partner was cautioned in relation to an offence when he was 16 years old; do I need to inform you of this?
We must carry out a number of checks on potential foster carers. This includes whether anyone in your household has any criminal convictions or cautions. It is important that you inform us of any criminal convictions or cautions however old they are and we can discuss it with you at the early stages.
How long does the process take to become a foster carer?
The process of becoming a foster carer means applicants have to go through a number of stages. A general guide is that once you have completed preparation training (Skills to Foster), it usually takes about 4-5 months to complete the full assessment and present it to the fostering panel for consideration of approval.
Do you need to contact my ex-partner?
If you have been married previously or have had a significant relationship with another person, it is likely that we will need to contact them to gather or confirm information. This is part of the assessment which we are required to carry out for all applications. Please do not worry about this as we know that sometimes relationships don’t end amicably, we will take all this into consideration.