Contact FSG on 08000 354 070 / 0208 778 9669

FAQs

How long will a child be placed with me?

This can vary from just a few days to many years! Every child will have a care plan that details how long a foster placement is needed. You should have an idea of what is expected, but you should also be aware that these plans and timescales may change.

How long will it take to become a foster carer?

The average time from making an application to completing Form F and being approved as a foster carer is up to six months. It can be shorter, depending on individual circumstances.

How many children can I foster?

Under the Children Act 1989 Schedule 7, the number of children fostered by a foster carer is limited to three children. As part of the assessment process a recommendation will be made with regard to the number of children that may be fostered based on your individual circumstances.

I don’t have children of my own. Can I still foster?

Yes. People with all kinds of experience and backgrounds are needed to foster. The greater the variety of foster carers, the better chance we have of finding a suitable match for the many different children needing foster homes.

Can I have a child placed with me who is the same age as my own children?

People often feel that their foster child and their own children are more likely to get on if they are close in age. Whilst this may happen, in practice, we find that they are more likely to clash, and that the needs of a foster child are more easily met if there is an age gap of at least 18 months between them and any other child in the home.

I smoke. Can I foster?

Yes, but we prefer it if you didn’t. No child under the age of five will be placed in a foster home where anyone smokes. When it comes to older children, we require you to ensure that nobody smokes in the home, including visitors. These restrictions also apply to any car in which a foster child travels.

I work. Do I have to give it up to foster?

No, but ask yourself – is your work flexible enough to allow you to foster? For example, unscheduled time off school is more likely to happen, school holidays cannot usually be covered by play schemes or with the help of friends and relatives, and you’ll have occasional meetings and training sessions to attend. We believe it is important that foster carers are available to carry out their duties of caring for the child placed with them. We would need to discuss your circumstances carefully if you wish to continue working, but as long as your work does not impinge on the requirements of the fostering task, it may be possible for carers to work.

I can’t drive. Is this a problem?

It’s not essential, but life can be difficult if you don’t have access to a car. School runs, meetings to attend at school or social work offices, training with us, and dropping off and collecting the foster child after contact with their family are all things that may be problematic without a car.

Am I too old to foster?

You need to be fit and energetic to be a foster carer, and we’ve seen some 21-year-olds that don’t fit the bill on this score! However, as applicants approach their late 50s we find that local authorities become increasingly reluctant to consider placing children with them because of concern that the lifestyle of the new carers would not be able to adapt sufficiently to meet the needs of the foster child. Therefore we would only assess someone in this age bracket in exceptional circumstances.

I am single – does this matter?

Only insofar as you will need to rely more on your own resources or support network than a couple might. We operate a robust equal opportunities policy and welcome applicants from all sectors of the community.

Do I need to have a spare bedroom?

Yes.

Can I foster if I am on benefits?

Generally, your benefits will not be affected if you become a foster carer. However, if you claim disability allowance, there may be some medical or health conditions that could affect the type of foster care you could do.

What is a Form F?

Form F is a document produced by your appointed assessing social worker. This assessment gives us a clear picture of how your family works, your interests and hobbies, skills and competencies, and what you can offer as a foster carer. The Form F is used to match each foster carer to the child needing to be cared for. On completion, it will be presented to as foster panel for recommendation of your approval as a foster carer. It is also shown to placing social workers so they are confident that a child is being matched with the right family.

Who completes a Form F?

A qualified social worker carries out a Form F assessment using the competency format published by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF). This assessment will be supervised by a senior social worker or registered manager.

What will happen once my Form F assessment has been completed?

  • The completed assessment is shared with the applicant, taking into account the confidentiality of references
  • The document is sent to the panel members, with a minimum of 10 days reading time
  • The prospective foster carers will attend a panel with their assessing social worker
  • The panel makes their recommendations on the applicant’s suitability and the range of their approval status
  • The agency decision maker receives the recommendation and makes the final decision about the approval/appointment on behalf of the agency

All the information is held on file and can be viewed on request, with the exception of the references from external agencies and personal references. It is conditional that all foster carers complete and sign a Foster Care Agreement in line with Care Standards Regulations 28(5)(6) and Fostering Service Regulations 2001 Schedule 5.