What does it involve?
There's no two ways about it, becoming a foster carer is a comprehensive process, but we do our utmost to support you through the assessment process, placements, and beyond.
Find out what happens at every step of the way with our 8-step guide to becoming a foster carer.
Support & Training
We provide high quality training and supervision to ensure that you have the best skills possible to meet the needs of the children and young people in your care.
We actively promote professional development, for both our carers and employees, so you can adapt as the need of cared for children change
We are very aware of the high level of practical and emotional support that our carers need.
Our fully qualified staff and support workers will be on hand to ensure carers, their families and the children in their care feel valued and part of the FCV family.
Our support package for carers includes:
The ability to contact a member of staff 24/7
Monthly visits, as well as ongoing supervision and support from a Supervising Social Worker
An up to date Foster Carer Handbook
Up to two weeks' paid respite
The opportunity to meet together to share your experience of fostering with other carers and members of our team
Chance to consult with education staff and qualified therapists, should the need arise
Free legal advice, legal expenses insurance, and personal financial advice from your individual membership of the Fostering Network
Comprehensive post-approval training
A professional financial package that demonstrates how much we value the skills of foster carers.
Access to day to day support from a support worker.
Once we have received your enquiry, a member of our team will be in touch to talk about the criteria for becoming a foster carer and address any concerns you may have. If you decide fostering is right for you, we'll move on to stage 2.
If it is mutually agreed that you're ready to move beyond stage 2, you will be invited to submit an application. You may also be asked to complete a medical consent form and a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Check.
If your application is successful, you will be invited on Skills to Foster training sessions. The training is to prepare you for the realities of fostering.
If everyone is still happy for the application to proceed, you will be allocated a social worker who will carry out your assessment. This is a rigorous process and will involve exploring many aspects of your life from birth through to the present day. The assessment process will usually take 12 – 16 weeks and will involve a number of discussions in your home on a regular basis.
All prospective foster carers are presented to panel with a completed assessment (referred to as a Form F). Panel will make a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker on whether to approve you as a foster carer, and theyl make the final decision.
Letter of approval
We realise that the training we offer our carers is a vital component in building and maintaining their ability to offer outstanding care to young people.
With this in mind we begin our training relationship prior to approval ensuring that all prospective carers complete the following:
'Skills to foster’ course
Paediatric First Aid certificate
‘An introduction to therapy’ module
Post approval, we offer a broad range of core training opportunities, which will equip them with all the basic knowledge to foster confidently and effectively as they begin their careers with the agency.
To ensure that our carers receive the best available training, we have developed relationships with a number of very skilled and experienced local trainers who are able to offer a broad range of both core and specialist training opportunities on our behalf.
We also recognise the value of peer involvement in training and will always look for opportunities to include the unique perspective of experienced carers in delivering training to less experienced colleagues.
Allowance & Fees
We believe that fostering should be a rewarding, professional career, which is why we offer all of our carers a generous and competitive financial package.
Foster carers are at the heart of our service and we appreciate the value that they add to the agency. The allowance and fees we offer recognise the demands of foster care and are designed provide you with the financial support you need to care for a child or young person.
This is the money paid to the foster carer in recognition of the costs of looking after a foster child.
The allowance carers are paid is designed to cover the costs of living with and caring for a foster child, such as food, household bills, travel, and clothing.
We expect that by the third month of the placement, an agreed amount of money will be used from the allowance to set up a savings account for the child or young person.
We understand that you know the needs of the child and expect you to spend the allowance appropriately.
In some cases, children with additional needs or specific interests may require additional expenditure. This can be discussed with the Supervising Social Worker.
The salary element is the money paid in recognition of the skills, knowledge and experience that the foster carer brings to fostering.
The fee for foster carer’s is similar to a wage or salary. In most fostering households at least one carer will need to be available full time, so it’s important that you receive a financial reward in the same way as you would in any other work.
You can spend your fee on absolutely anything.
You’ll be eligible for tax relief in recognition of the Government’s commitment to financially encouraging people from all walks of life to become foster carers.
To find out more information about working out how much tax you will pay on your income, visit the HMRC introduction to foster care relief.
There is also an eLearning package, which has been specifically made for foster carers, click here to find out more.