Frequently Asked Questions

Fostering is a big decision, so we completely understand that you may have many questions about fostering. Below are our most commonly asked questions, however please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions that are not answered here.

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, you can work and you will not have to give up your job, however, a level of flexibility is required for school holidays and occasional meetings. Also bear in mind that some young people may not always manage school, so there is a need for someone in your household to be available to a young person. We have foster carers who successfully work and foster, and they are still able to provide great care for school age children whilst also having a career.

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?

Fostering is best suited for those over the age of 21, and there is no upper limit. What matters most, is that you are healthy and fit enough to care for a child or young person.

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, a child will need their own bedroom.

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 a 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.

Our locations

Main office

Fostering Support Group, 5th Floor, Yeoman House, 63 Croydon Road, London, SE20 7TS

For more information call

0208 778 5656

Or get in touch

here