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Fostering frequently asked questions

Becoming a foster carer is a big decision, and here are some of the common questions prospective carers ask.

If your question isn’t answered here, contact us or use our live chat at the top of the page and we’ll be delighted to help.

Do I need specific experience or qualifications to become a foster carer?+

No. Foster carers come from vastly different backgrounds and have overcome different challenges in life. Here are 2 examples that illustrate the point: Rachel spent her early life in foster care, moving from family to family because she was difficult to handle. She finally settled with a foster family, and they developed a lifelong bond. She’s now a foster carer. Mike used to be a policeman and his wife Alison used to be a paramedic. They’ve changed careers and are now foster carers. Whatever your background and experience, you can succeed as a foster carer. And remember: we’re with you every step of the way with training and support.

Do all fostering agencies pay the same?+

No. Local authorities and independent fostering agencies all offer different reward payments (and different levels of support and training). Download our free Guide to What Foster Carers Get Paid for more information about foster carer payments. The payments in this guide are specific to Perpetual, so contact the local authority or other agency you’re considering for their information.

Can a child placed with me share a bedroom with one of my own children?+

Perpetual Fostering will only place children if they can have their own bedroom. However, if the foster placement involves siblings we would allow them to share if it were appropriate and in the best interest of the children.

What checks will be carried out on me if I apply to be a foster carer?+

During the assessment period we undertake a number of statutory checks to make sure you are fit and capable of fostering. These include a medical and background checks with the police (DBS) and the local authority. Both you and your partner will be required to undergo the necessary checks and training as part of the assessment. Checks are also carried out on anyone else over the age of 16 who is sharing your home. For more information on checks and the assessment process, download our free Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Foster Carer.

Can I still go out to work and be a foster carer?+

There’s some flexibility if you foster a school-age child – depending on the young person’s needs, you may be in a position to continue working part time or full time. As a rule, especially during the early stages of any fostering placement, you must be available to attend meetings and support groups with social workers and other foster carers. If you want to continue working full time and are interested in becoming a foster carer, there are a variety of short-term and respite placements available.

How long will I have to wait for a placement after being approved to foster?+

Once your assessment is completed and you are approved, you can begin taking placements immediately. We make all placements following a careful matching process that’s based on information we collected during your assessment. The more flexible you are, the easier it will be to place children with you.

What is an Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) and how is it different from local authority fostering?+

Local authorities are ultimately responsible for the wellbeing of all children in care. If the local authority is unable to accommodate a child in care, they delegate this responsibility to an independent fostering agency (IFA) like us. We work in partnership with the local authority to achieve the best possible outcomes for looked-after children and young people. The local authority sends us referrals for children from a variety of backgrounds that require different levels of support and care. All our carers receive comprehensive training and 24-hour support from our qualified staff.

Can I choose how long a child stays with me?+

You always have the ultimate decision on whether to accept a placement. However, as the duration of placements can often be unclear, you may need to take a flexible approach. We talk through the different types of placements with foster carers during the assessment period to help you make informed decisions.

Can I choose the age or gender of a child placed with me?+

You can choose the age and gender of a placement. However, you are far more likely to have continuous placements if you are willing to take teenagers as well as younger children.

How much will I know about the children before they're placed with me?+

We discuss every placement with you in advance. We will provide you with as much information about the children and their background as possible, including any difficult behaviour and how to manage it. If a placement is made in an emergency, it can be difficult to provide a lot of information. However, we always try to give you as much background as we can.

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