Yes. Anyone can apply to foster regardless of whether they are single, married or living with a partner. Also, regardless of whether you have your own children or not, whether you live in your own home or rent, whatever your race, religion or sexuality.
The assessment and process will take between 4-6 months, but can sometimes take longer. In England, the National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services 2011 states that the suitability of a prospective Foster Carer must be decided upon within eight months of their application being received.
When you apply to foster, you will be assigned a Supervising Social worker who will support you throughout the process, carry out a thorough assessment, and complete a report. This report will be sent to a Fostering Panel, who will make a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker (ADM) on whether you are suitable to foster. The ADM will then decide whether you will be approved or not.
To be a Foster Carer with Tutis Foster Care, we have a minimum age requirement of 25. This is because Foster Carers need sufficient life experience to enable them to meet the needs of children placed with them, and age can be a factor in this.
There is no official upper age limit on fostering and many older people make excellent carers, providing they are well enough to look after a child or young person.
No. Once approved Foster Carers are supported to achieve the Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care. We will support you every step of the way.
Not necessarily. The law states that the only criminal convictions that prevent people from fostering are those that relate to an offence against children, a sexual offence or serious criminal offcence. Minor offences should not count against you in your application to foster. All criminal convictions will need to be disclosed when you first apply to foster, as the application process to become a Foster Carer includes an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
Your health will be considered when applying to foster and any long-term conditions taken into account. The most important factor is whether you are physically and psychologically fit enough to cope with the demands of caring for a child – this may vary depending on the age of the children that you are approved for.
Tutis Foster Care is proud of the support we provide our carers. If you are approved to become a Foster Carer with us there are various sources of on-going support available to you. The most important will be your Supervising Social Worker, a member of the Tutis Foster Care team allocated to support you, who will meet regularly with you to discuss any concerns you have, offer you supervision, and arrange any training you feel you need. In addition, we also have a Support Worker who is able to provide additional support to either yourself or the child/ren you are looking after.
Tutis Foster Care also provides a 24 hour, 7 day per week on call service, should you need to speak with a qualified Social Worker about any problems you may have with a child/ren you are looking after.
We also provide membership to The Fostering Network which gives you access to a network of Foster Carers in a similar situation to you, and a range of information and advice services.
Yes. Though we will need to discuss with you how you would balance the needs of any children that are placed with you, with the needs of your own child/ren. During the assessment there will be discussions regarding the impact fostering can have on children who are already living within the home.
An Independent Fostering Agency works in partnership with the local authority to offer a dedicated and local fostering service. Fostering with us means you’ll have access to an extended network of support, regular training and many additional services. You can read about the support you’ll receive here. Independent services are also a little more flexible in terms of training dates and meetings – and we offer 24/7 support and a dedicated case worker.
It is important to highlight that Fostering is very different to Adoption, so you will need to think very carefully whether it is fostering a child or adopting a child that you would like to do. Fostering is a way of offering children and young people a home while their own family is unable to look after them. Fostering is often a temporary arrangement, and many fostered children return to their own families. Children who cannot return home but still want to stay in touch with their families often live in long-term foster care. Foster Carers never have parental responsibility for a child that they care for. Adoption is a way of providing a new family for children who cannot be brought up by their own parents. It’s a legal procedure in which all the parental responsibility is transferred to the adopters. Once an Adoption Order has been granted it can’t be reversed except in extremely rare circumstances. An adopted child loses all legal ties with their birth family and becomes a full member of the new family, usually taking the family’s name.
Tutis Foster Care require you to have a spare bedroom to foster to ensure the child or young person has the privacy and space that they require.
Having pets does not prevent you from fostering, in fact they can be an asset to a foster family. However, every animal is different and your pets will be assessed as part of the process of becoming a Foster Carer, taking into account factors such as their temperament and behaviour.
All Foster Carers at Tutis Foster care receive a weekly fostering allowance, which is intended to cover the costs of looking after a child in foster care, such as clothing, food and pocket money.
In addition, our carers receive a very generous fostering fee in recognition of their time, skill and service to children and young people.
Foster Carers are treated as self-employed for tax purposes. There is a specific tax scheme Foster Carers can use, called Qualifying Care Relief. Qualifying Care Relief allows Foster Carers to receive certain payments (qualifying amounts) tax-free.
The scheme calculates a tax threshold unique to the fostering household which determines if a Foster Carer has to pay any tax from their fostering.
With Qualifying Care Relief, you only need to keep simple records.
Further information about tax and National Insurance is available on HM Revenue and Customs website.
If you currently claim welfare benefits you are likely to be able to continue to claim while fostering. Foster Carers are approved rather than employed by their fostering service, and this status has a particular effect on means tested benefits. In the main, fostering payments are disregarded when calculating welfare benefits. Alternatively, Foster Carers may be able to claim Working Tax Credit because fostering is regarded as ‘work’ by HMRC when they have a child in placement.
Previous financial problems should not prevent you from fostering. You will need to be able to show that you are now financially secure enough to provide a stable home for any children who are placed with you, and that you are able to manage the fostering allowances paid to you.
In short, yes. However Foster Carers are expected to be available to care for children, attend meetings, training, support groups, and to promote and support contact between a child and their family. Placing Local Authorities would not usually consider it appropriate for a fostered child to be in full-time day care while their Foster Carer works, but may consider use of after-school clubs and other child care arrangements for older children.