The road to fostering starts with an idea or inspiration from someone you know who fosters, or even one of the carer stories on our blog. Here’s how you can make it happen, starting from why and including some tips.
“I saw so many young people who’d had such a difficult start and I really wanted to give children some of the same chances that mine had” – Sharon
There isn’t a single, defining reason why people decide they want to foster a child but, if you’re thinking of becoming a foster carer, some of these might sound familiar:
People from all walks of life can apply to become a foster carer. Diversity among our foster carers is really important because our foster children are just as diverse.
The most important question we ask is, can this person provide a safe, nurturing home for a foster child? Beyond this, fostering is suitable for a broad range of people.
“There is no other job like fostering. You can physically see the difference you are making in these children, from the day they come to you to the day they leave, you know you have made some sort of difference” – Harry
Criteria for becoming a foster carer includes:
You’ll also need to pass our health and DBS checks. Discover more about the criteria using out Can I foster? tool.
“Because of my background in the local authority, I’m regarded as one of the senior foster carers and I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned from working with children and young people over many years” – Eileen
Independent fostering agencies like National Fostering Group, which has the best local coverage in the UK, provides local authorities with trained, skilled foster carers.
When you look after a foster child, we continue to support you and, together, we work with the local authority teams to meet each child’s requirements.
All foster carers are self-employed and we pay you a generous fostering allowance, which tends to be significantly more than local authorities pay, plus access to other perks and benefits.
Once you’re approved as a foster carer, you’ll be matched with a child or young person and their placement with your family will begin. You can choose, with help from your assessing social worker, what types of fostering you want to do – for example, emergency, sibling, Bridge to Foster, parent & child or unaccompanied minors.
If you’re at the beginning of your journey to becoming a foster carer, the sheer volume of information can be overwhelming. So, here are some pointers.
You can be a foster carer with a local authority or independent foster agency. If you’re comparing foster agencies, look for:
Check out our full guide on what to look for in a foster agency, and also our guide on choosing between a local authority and a foster agency.
A usual application follows a formal pathway over about 16 weeks (four months).
We also offer a fast track approval, which takes eight weeks and can be suitable for applicants who have plenty of free time to deep-dive into the process over a shorter period.
If you’ve read our website and you’re interested, contact your local team.