What is the role of the foster carer?
- To provide a caring, secure family environment
- To meet all the child’s day to day individual needs
- To promote contact for the child with their family wherever possible
- To work alongside children’s services team workers and other agencies
- To help prepare a child to move back to their family or onto a new permanent placement through long-term fostering or adoption
- To facilitate the school run and keep a child in education.
Why do children need to be fostered?
There are many different reasons why children of all ages may need foster care. Children may have suffered sexual or physical abuse, they may have been neglected or their parents may have experienced problems, making it difficult for them to care for their children.
Many children will return to their families but for other children, permanent alternative care must be found. For many of these children living in a family environment is the best option.
Children who have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect may demonstrate challenging behaviour. Foster carers need to work with parents, social workers and other professionals to help make decisions which meet the child’s best interests.
What are the differences between fostering and adoption?
Fostering means you look after a child on behalf of a local authority from a few days to a number of years. Adopting a child means you become the child’s legal parent.
Why do some children need fostering?
There are a number of reasons why children can’t be cared for in their own family and may require fostering. It could be a temporary crisis or a longer-term need. What is important is that there is a foster family available nearby that can provide them with the care that they need.
Contact between children, their parents and other family members is usually maintained while the child is in foster care and foster carers often have a role in supporting these meetings, by transporting them and supporting them before and after birth family contact.
Many different people become foster carers and adopters. Foster carer and adoptive families come from a wide variety of backgrounds and circumstances. Some families have a mum and a dad, some families just a mum or just a dad. Some families have two mums or two dads. There is no such thing as a typical foster carer or adopter. Every family is unique.
Can I foster or adopt if I am lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?
We welcome LGBT adopters and foster carers. You can be heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. There is no such thing as a typical foster carer. Every family is unique.
Can I foster or adopt if I am single?
You can be single, married, in a civil partnership or living with a partner. A good support network of family or close friends is essential for all applicants.
Can I foster or adopt if I am male?
Both women and men can be great foster carers. It is important to have relevant childcare experience and have an understanding of children’s needs. We have a support group specifically for male foster carers.
Can I foster or adopt if I do not have any children?
Yes you can. The important thing is that you can offer support, guidance and a positive caring family environment to help children feel secure and valued. There will be challenges, but with support and guidance from the family placement service, foster carers, adopters and other professionals you will meet these challenges and gain tremendous satisfaction from having been an important part of a child’s life.
Do I need a qualification to foster?
No formal qualifications are necessary but foster carers will need to have had experience of caring for their own or other people’s children or have relevant professional experience. Slough Children’s Services Trust offers training and support to enhance your skills as well as providing you with an opportunity to develop new ones. What matters most is that you have the time and space, commitment, patience, energy and above all the desire to care and work with both the children and their parents.
Do you recruit foster carers from my ethnicity?
We welcome you no matter what ethnicity you are, as long as you are willing to promote a child’s ethnicity and cultural heritage. We believe it is best for children to live with foster carers who reflect and understand a child’s heritage, ethnic origin, culture and language, and so we need carers from all types of backgrounds. Ultimately, we are looking for families who can offer support, guidance and a positive family environment in which children feel secure, cared for and valued.
Am I the right age to foster?
The trust prefer foster carers to be a minimum of 21 years old. While there are no age limits for fostering, a carer must be fit enough to meet the needs of the child.
Can I foster if I live in a rented accommodation?
You will need to have a spare bedroom if you wish to foster children. You do not need to own your house to foster. As long as each child can have their own bedroom, you can foster or adopt. Your home will need to meet health and safety regulations and the national minimum fostering and adoption standards in terms of hygiene, play and homework space. This will be assessed during the assessment process.
Can I foster if I smoke?
We will not place a child under 5 in a household where adults smoke. We would not refuse enquiries from people who smoke, but we would strongly encourage anyone who does smoke to take active steps to give up, as this is likely to benefit you and any children in your care.
Is fostering considered a job?
All foster carers are registered with and contracted to a local authority or voluntary or independent agency. Foster carers are low income self-employed workers who work as part of a team around a child. We prefer to talk about it in terms of a ‘family-based role’ rather than a traditional job.
Is there a particular need in Slough?
Slough Children’s Services Trust is currently looking for carers for children aged 0-18 from a range of ethnic backgrounds, and are particularly looking for carers who may be able to look after school age children, teenagers, sibling groups and children with special needs.
Can I offer help without being a full-time foster carer?
Yes, you can. We have a Home From Home scheme, which involves caring for a child with a disability. This could be for a few hours a week (day or evening) on a regular basis, a weekly overnight stay, a weekend once a month, a day a week in the school holidays.
You’ll have to undertake our usual application process, vetting and training but being able to help out in this way can be very rewarding, in terms of the help it offers to the child’s full time carers.
More details can be found here.