What’s the difference between fostering and adoption?
Adoption means taking a child into your home permanently and legally as part of your family. Fostering usually means a temporary home; however there are similarities between adoption and long-term fostering. The differences are mainly to do with the legal status of the child. Fostered children also usually maintain some form of contact with their birth families. If you would like to find out more about adoption please click here.
How long does the process take to become a foster carer?
The process of becoming a foster carer takes applicants through a number of stages. Once you have completed fostering preparation training, it usually takes about six months to complete the family assessment and present it to the fostering panel for consideration.
What about my partner and children?
Fostering involves the whole family. We would expect you to have discussed your wish to foster with all members of your household, including children. Everyone’s views and feelings are important in relation to having a fostered child living with them. Your own children would be included in the approval process too, as they are an important part of the foster family. If you have a partner living with you, your fostering social worker will need to assess him or her as well as you. Your partner will also need to take part in the fostering preparation course.
Can I foster with you if I do not live in Peterborough?
Yes. We welcome applications from those living outside Peterborough but within reasonable travelling distance. Applicants will need to travel to Peterborough for training and meetings.
What time will I have for myself?
Fostering can take a lot out of you and there will be times when you will need to “recharge your batteries”. On these occasions assessed friends and family can be of great benefit and we can also help by providing respite and day care when needed. If you are fostering short-term you can also take breaks between placements if you wish.
Can I afford to foster?
You will receive a weekly payment for each child in your care. This allowance varies according to the age of the child and covers the costs of food and clothing, household items, personal care and travel costs. It is re assessed every year. Extra payments are made on the child’s birthday and at Christmas as well as two weeks extra holiday payment. We have a career structure for those foster carers whose wish to make it their main job and source of income. Carers are paid an allowance depending on the age of the child and a fostering fee which is based on a banding system depending on your skills, knowledge and abilities. As you gain more experience it is possible to move through the banding levels.
Do I get a choice about which child comes to live with me?
Yes, before you are approved, we will have spent a long time helping you to decide which age and type of child would fit into your home. Some carers specialise in looking after disabled children or babies and toddlers whereas others choose to foster school-age or teenage children. Some carers decide that only boys or only girls will fit into their household while some who are more experienced prefer dealing and supporting children who display challenging behaviour. Whenever we ask you to foster a child, we give you all of the information we have about that child – their history and behaviour and so on. We let you make up your own mind whether or not to take them. We would not ask you to foster a child whose behaviour we thought you would find too difficult to handle. We make every attempt to match children to a carer of the same race and cultural background. When it is not possible to provide the ideal match, we might ask you to look after children from a different background to your own.
Do I need a spare room?
As a rule yes because it’s important the child has a space of their own (or one they can share with their brother or sister). However, if you provide day care or look after very young babies then it may not always be necessary. We would not expect your children to give up their room to allow you to foster (even those away at university).
Can I foster more than one child?
We are always looking for carers who will enable us to keep brothers and sisters together. In some circumstances brothers and sisters can share a bedroom (if this is appropriate). The number children you can care for is set out in your ‘approval’ decision, based on your circumstances and experience. The maximum number of children any foster carer can care for is three (unless special permission is granted).
Can I work full-time and still foster?
Yes but it depends on the type of fostering you want to do. Some foster carers provide respite or short breaks and still work. If you want to foster full time then at least one carer in your household should be available all the time.
How do I find out more information?
Come to one of our regular information evenings where you can talk to current foster carers, staff from the fostering team and wider children’s service. The ‘no obligation’ evenings are designed to answer as many of your questions as we can and give you some more information to help you decide if you want to take the next step. View upcoming events.