Being a foster carer is undeniably rewarding and this role provides you with the opportunity to make a huge difference to the lives of children and young people. As more and more children find themselves in a situation where they need a safe environment to stay in for a while, there is a bigger need for caring and compassionate foster carers across the country.
If you’ve ever considered foster caring, you could help with the increasing pressure that’s placed on the over-stretched care system and if you’re interested to learn more about the foster care process here in the UK, keep reading today. Below we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions in this regard, covering all of the basics you will likely want to know.
Who can foster a child in the UK?
Simply put, anyone can foster a child in the UK as long as they meet a few basic criteria (we will look into this in more detail below). Many don’t actually realise that they are eligible to foster and it is a huge misconception that there are very strict rules in this regard. Whether you’re part of the LGBT community, a single person or a biological parent, for example, you can still foster.
It is worth noting that in order to be a good foster carer, you do need to be a particular type of person though. Generally speaking, if you’re patient, kind, caring and committed, then you will be suited to the role and it is definitely worthwhile exploring fostering in more detail.
What are the requirements for fostering in the UK?
In order to apply for a foster carer role, you need to;
- Be a full-time UK resident or have the right to remain in the country
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a spare bedroom in your home
- Have time to provide care to a child or young person
Whilst these are the only requirements, other things will be taken into consideration when you apply to be a foster carer, such as; your health and experience caring for other people.
How do you foster a child in the UK?
If you’re interested in fostering, you need to find a fostering agency to apply through. There are a number of different agencies to choose from and it is important to do some research before starting the foster carer assessment process with an agency. You need to ensure that you choose an agency that will be best able to support you through your fostering journey and provide you with any training that you may require.
What is the foster care process in the UK?
Whilst the foster care process will differ from agency to agency, it usually consists of a multi-step application process that takes around 4 months from start to finish. Here at Fostering UK, once you have made an enquiry, spoken to a member of our team and had a home visit, there are a few different forms, assessments and training courses you will need to complete, including;
This form is your opportunity to tell an agency all about yourself and you will be required to include comprehensive information about your current lifestyle and personal circumstances.
You may also hear this assessment referred to as a ‘Form F’ and it is designed to assess your suitability for a foster care role. This is a long assessment and it will be inclusive of regular visits from a social worker and formalities like references and medical checks.
Skills to Foster training course
This is a training course that is specifically designed to teach you the fundamental knowledge and skills surrounding foster care. The ‘Skills to Foster’ course is two days long and completing it is an essential step to becoming an approved foster carer.
Fostering panel meeting
As the final stage of the foster care process, this panel meeting can often be the most daunting and it will last around an hour. After the fostering panel meeting, you will find out whether you have been approved to be a foster carer and once approved, your first foster child can be placed in your care at any time.
Finding out more about becoming a foster carer
Hopefully, you will now know a little bit more about the foster care process in the UK and what you would be required to do if you were interested in becoming a foster carer. If you’d like to find out more about fostering services or if you have any unanswered questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our team here at Fostering UK today. We will gladly discuss fostering with you in much more detail and provide you with any additional information that you require. We look forward to hearing from you.