Foster carers look after children or young people who cannot live with their own families. This could be due to reasons that include illness, relationship breakdown or concerns about their welfare. Foster carers provide children and young people with a safe and nurturing family environment, caring for them as though they were their own children.
In March 2018 (latest figures) there were 55,200 children in England living with foster families. In Slough we have a fantastic team of foster carers but we always have a need for more! These pages give you information about fostering and, hopefully, you’ll be inspired to get in touch with us.
There are different types of foster care. Some foster carers may look after a child for a few nights or weeks. Other foster carers may look after children and young people until they reach adulthood.
Fostering can be a life changing choice – the satisfaction of knowing you have helped a child by offering them a family environment whilst their own family are experiencing a crisis can be enormously rewarding. Fostering can be hard work at times, but it is also tremendously satisfying.
What is the role of the foster carer?
- To provide a caring, secure and stable 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.
There will be challenges, but with support and guidance from the family placement service, foster carers and other professionals you will meet these challenges and gain tremendous satisfaction from having been an important part of a child’s life.
Who can be a foster carer?
Many different people become foster carers. Foster carer 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. Every family is unique. You can be:
- single, married or divorced
- living with a disability
- of any sexual orientation
- of any ethnic origin or religion
- renting or owning your home
- a parent with your own children
We welcome people from all walks of life, 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.
Legally, foster carers have to be at least 21 years of age. Fostering agencies expect people to be mature enough to work with the complex problems that children in care are likely to experience, and fit enough to perform this often demanding but rewarding task!
While there are no upper age limits for fostering, a carer must be fit enough to meet the needs of the child.
You will need to have a spare bedroom if you wish to foster children and be able to transport children to school, medical appointments or similar.
Ultimately, we are looking for foster families who can offer support, guidance and a positive family environment in which children feel secure, valued and cared for.
There is no such thing as a typical foster carer -we look forward to hearing from people just like you!
No formal qualifications are necessary but foster carers will need to have had some experience of caring for their own or other people’s children. Slough 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.
We’ll support you. Financially. Emotionally. Professionally.
We look for people who will:
- understand the differing needs of individual children
- promote a child’s health and education
- respect and promote a young person’s identity, sexuality, religion, culture, race, language and any special needs
- encourage a child to develop and maintain friendships
- show flexibility and resilience in handling a range of challenging behaviours
- encourage and support contact with a child’s parents and family as appropriate
- develop your own skills through preparation and training.
What it’s like to foster for Slough Children’s Services Trust
You can learn more by reading real-life case studies of the people we work with here.