What is Fostering? | Foster Care Fortnight
WHAT IS FOSTERING?
So, what is fostering exactly? Put simply, fostering is looking after a young person, who happens to be in the care system, in your own home. Looked after children enter the care system for a variety of reasons, usually due to no fault of their own. They can be very young babies, right up to teenagers on the brink of adulthood. Being a foster carer means that you offer support to the child or children placed with you, to help them make decisions about their life and develop skills that they will need to eventually live on their own. Sometimes, such children will have had no previous experience of family life and will never have received support or care from anyone else before. They often come from a background of abuse or neglect and may have complex issues.
IS FOSTERING DIFFERENT FROM ADOPTION?
In adoption, the rights and responsibility for the child is transferred permanently to the adopters, whereas a fostered child remains the legal responsibility of the birth parents and/or the local authority. Foster carers work in partnership with social workers and the child’s family to prepare the child with the skills needed for adulthood, and make decisions about the child, usually until they reach 18 and are ready for independent living. Fostering agencies provide their foster carers with financial support to cover the costs of caring for the child, for food, clothing, birthdays and holidays. Foster carers may be paid higher rates for looking after teenagers, a child with a disability or for a young person with emotional or behavioural problems.
HOW SHOULD I CHOOSE A FOSTERING AGENCY?
To make sure you have found the best fostering agency for you, you should do a lot of research. Start by shortlist a couple of agencies that you like the look of, and get in touch with them. You can arrange to meet with a few different agencies for an informal chat. This will help you to decide which agency you feel best matched with. You should put together a list of questions to ask, which will help you determine what is on offer from each agency. We’ve put together a quick list below of questions to get you started:
- Does the agency give 24/7 support?
- Do they provide regular training for foster carers?
- Do they offer respite care? (an opportunity for you to take breaks and holidays while fostering)
- Will they reimburse me for the child’s basic needs?
- Does the agency have enough staff to support their foster carers?
- Do they offer additional allowances for young people in placement?
- Does the agency have a good reputation?
- Do they have the correct accreditation?
BECOME A FOSTER CARER FOR LORIMER
Here at Lorimer, we always say that there is no such thing as an ideal foster carer! All of our foster carers come from a wide range of backgrounds. They are as diverse as the children and young people who they care for. As an agency, we wouldn’t want it any other way, as it is so important for us to carefully match children with foster carers to ensure that the children and young people remain with the same foster family until independence.
All we ask is that you have the commitment and the desire to help these children and young people make positive changes in their life, when no-one else gave them the chance.
If you can commit to them then we will commit to you by offering:
- Competitive professional fees
- Two weeks paid holiday/respite a year
- A separate allowance for birthdays and Christmas for all young people in placement
- Regular visits and 24/7 support from experienced social workers
- Regular foster carers support group meetings
- Membership to ‘The Fostering Network’ which offers a host of benefits and free services
- Access to thousands of discounts through our Reward and Recognition Scheme
SO, WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO NEXT?
Hopefully, you are no longer asking yourself the question, ‘What is fostering?’. If you think you can help break the cycle and make a commitment to a child or young person then you can either submit your details here and we will call you back or alternatively contact us on (freephone) 0800 038 7799.