Becoming a foster carer

Image of a family sitting on a couch

Caring for children is an important task and we understand that making the decision to foster can be life changing for you and your family. If you’ve been thinking about fostering for a while we encourage you to take the next step and find out more.

People from all walks of life become foster carers – you will need a spare bedroom, a commitment to children, time to offer, energy, ‘stickability’ when the going gets tough, optimism and a sense of fun.

We consider our carers to be the most valuable asset in the Fostering Service and promise to treat you fairly and with respect.  The process of assessment will be open and honest and we will respect the confidentiality of the information that you share with us. Our staff and experienced carers will work alongside you to prepare you and your family for the task ahead.

By becoming a foster carer you will enable Powys children and young people to remain in their county and will be joining a team of carers committed to making a positive difference to the lives of young people across the region. 

We need Foster Carers from a variety of backgrounds so we can place children in homes which reflect their own culture, language and religion. You can be considered for fostering if you are:

  • Aged 21 or over
  • Single – male or female, with or without children
  • Living with a partner or married, with or without children
  • Divorced
  • From any ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural background
  • A person with disabilities
  • A same-sex couple
  • Working full/part time or currently unemployed

It also doesn’t matter whether you own or rent your home. We need to know that you can offer a child stability and therefore have no plans to move house or where you rent, that you have a secure tenancy.

If you have criminal convictions you will need to tell us. To protect foster children from harm, there are offences that would bar you from fostering. For more information on this, contact the Fostering team.

If you can answer “yes” to all the questions below then fostering may be right for you.

   
Are you aged 21 or over? The law requires that Foster Carers are aged 21 or over. There is no maximum age limit, but an assessment considers your health, experience and attitude to young people
Do you have a spare bedroom? Each child you foster needs to have their own bedroom which should be on the same level as the Foster Carer’s bedroom. We would not expect your own children to have to start sharing to accommodate any children you foster.
Is the youngest child in your household aged over 2½ years? We would recommend that you wait until the youngest child in your family is at least 2½ years old before you pursue your enquiry.
Are you in good health? Fostering can be very stressful and we want to ensure that you are fit and healthy before approving you to foster. If you have a medical condition, have had a significant illness or medical complaint that may be re-triggered by stress, it is important that you discuss this with your GP or medical adviser before enquiring further.
Are you & all members of your household non-smokers? Powys Fostering Service’s Smoking policy states that “children under the age of 5 years, or any child with health conditions or disabilities will not be placed with Foster Carers where household members smoke.
Do you have a good local network of support? Having support from family and friends locally is crucial when you are fostering. Not only may you need to have someone to call on in an emergency, but having a busy social life with friends and their children helps children in care feel part of family life.
Are all members of your household supportive of your wish to foster? It is important that everyone in your family supports you in your enquiry to foster. If your partner or children are unsure we would recommend waiting until everyone feels happier. You may have a significant event coming up for your family – a house move, change of school or exams, if so we would recommend waiting until this has passed before making further enquiries.
Are you available during the daytime? You will need to consider how you will balance the needs of fostering and work. As a Foster Carer you will be required to attend regular meetings and training courses, most of which take place during weekdays. In addition you need to be available should the children you foster be at home because of illness, school holiday or exclusion. If you are looking to foster pre-school children the service expects one approved Foster Carer in the household to be at home full time.
Are you and your family financially secure? You will need to consider how you will manage at times when there are gaps between placements.
Do you and everyone in your household have a clean criminal record? If you or any member of your household have been cautioned or have criminal convictions you will need to tell us. To protect foster children from harm, there are some offences that would bar you from fostering. For more information on this, contact the Fostering team. It is important that you are open and honest with the service from the outset. Should you fail to disclose any information your assessment will be terminated.

To be a Foster Carer you need:

  • a good sense of humour
  • a caring personality
  • the time and energy to devote to a child
  • to be able to work as part of a team; this includes Social Workers and the child’s parent
  • to be realistic and able to cope with challenging situations
  • an understanding of the needs of children and young people who have been neglected or abused
  • to be flexible and non-judgemental
  • to have the desire to make a difference and help young people reach their full potential
  • to enjoy the company of children and young people
  • to be available in the daytime if the child needs you and to be available for meetings and training 
  • to be a non-smoker or to have stopped smoking for a period of one year if you want to foster children aged 0-5.

Full time fostering includes:

Short term: where a child needs someone to care for them for a fixed period while plans are being made for their future.

Long term: where it’s not possible for the child to return home and a more permanent home is needed.

Emergency: where children have to be placed in foster care with little or no notice

Parent & baby: where parents need the support of Foster Carers to learn parenting skills and where Carers contribute to our assessment of the parents.

Part time fostering could include:

Respite: Short, planned breaks designed to give full time Foster Carers some regular time off, maybe one weekend or more depending on the individual circumstances

Support care: Short, planned breaks to give parents support during a difficult period (e.g. because of illness)

Short breaks for children with disabilities:  Regular short breaks for children with learning and/or physical disabilities which also helps their families to have a break, too.

Supported Lodgings: Operated by our 16+ team, the Supported Lodgings Scheme provides young people (16-24) with a ‘stepping stone’ to living independently.

For further information contact the Supported Lodgings Co-ordinator.

 Family & friends/kinship

Where a close family friend or member of the child’s family becomes the Foster Carer for the child for a short or long period of time.

If you are currently fostering for another Local Authority or an independent fostering agency and are looking to transfer to Powys Fostering Service, you can get more information about assessment, training and ongoing support.

To download a copy of the Fostering Network's Transfer protocol, see link below.

An allowance of £232.34 per week is paid to Foster Carers for the maintenance of each child placed and is only paid for the period of time you care.

An additional skills allowance of £126 41 per week, per child is paid to Foster Carers who are caring for a child not previously known to them. 

If providing a placement for one parent and their baby, an allowance of £591.09 per week is paid, and where Foster Carers are providing a placement to a child and both parents, this allowance is presently £708.75 per week.

We have a full time member of the team who can provide advice and information regarding financial matters related to fostering. 

N.B. If you have any questions about tax and state benefits we advise you to contact the tax office and benefits agency to explain your specific circumstances.

Enquire about Fostering

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More Information

Links to other websites:

Transfer of Foster Carers Protocol

Gov.uk

BAAF

The Fostering Network

A foster carer talks about her experiences since she began fostering. Read her blog entry here.

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) has made a film with the BBC Outreach Project.

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