Today, it’s estimated that the UK has a shortage of 9,265 foster families. So we’re in full support of the campaign and hope that together, we can inspire even more people to consider a career in fostering.
Below you’ll find links to some of the stories of our incredible foster families, plus lots more information about fostering. And if you’ve been inspired by the campaign, then we’d love to hear from you. Speak to one of our friendly fostering advisors to find out more.
Kem & Eric's Fostering Story
Discover what it's like to be a foster family in our latest campaign, which features foster parents Kem and Eric, and the young people in their care...
March 28 2023
Debbie's Fostering Story
Meet the foster mum who has provided a home for life for the young people in her care...
September 27 2022
Sarah's Fostering Journey
Sarah shares how empty nest syndrome was the motivation she needed to become a foster parent and the incredible journey she's been on ever since.
Frequently asked questions about fostering
Who can apply to be foster parents?
We want our fostering family to be as diverse as the children we care for. Nobody will ever be turned away based on their religious beliefs, sexuality, ethnicity, gender, or age.
You also don’t have to be experienced to apply to foster. All we ask is that you’re passionate about making a difference in the lives of these children as we can offer all the training and support you need.
Plus, you’ll be surrounded by foster parents with all different levels of experience, so you can soak up the knowledge of those who have 10 or 20 years of fostering under their belt, while feeling safe in the knowledge that others are also new to fostering, just like you.
So really the main initial requirements for fostering a child are that you have a spare room that is permanently available to a child in your care, that you have the right to work and live in the UK, that you are aged 21 years or older, and that you have a whole load of love and stability to give to a child in care.
Why are more foster parents needed?
There is a rising number of children coming into foster care each year, and not enough foster families are able to welcome these children into their homes in their hour of need.
As well as children being referred to residential homes, when a family home environment in foster care would have better suited their needs, we're also seeing siblings being separated and children being moved further away from their local communities than necessary. All these scenarios can adversely affect a child’s wellbeing, their sense of identity, and ultimately, their outcomes in care.
Siblings being separated
As far as is practically possible, and in the best interests of each child, siblings should be placed in the same foster home. This ensures a smooth transition to foster care. Older siblings will tend to take care of younger ones, thus increasing their level of trust and comfort. The family unit is, therefore, not entirely disrupted and the kids tend to adapt faster than single foster children.
Children being moved far away
Children should ideally be placed within their local communities. This allows them to retain their existing friendships and peer support groups. As they do not have to change schools, their education will not be disrupted, and apart from their new home, life will continue as before. This is the least stressful option.
However, the shortage of foster parents often results in children being placed in a home far from their community. This adds to the unfamiliar surroundings they are expected to acclimatise to. These children feel very isolated and struggle to make new friends. If the school year has already commenced, other children would already have formed their social groups and chosen their best friends. It becomes next to impossible for the child in this situation to develop a close friendship or find inclusion in a group.
Interaction is a key skill that is learned at school, and because of their difficult circumstances, children in care may miss out on acquiring this competency. Their school work may be affected, and they could become more withdrawn at home.
How are prospective foster parents assessed?
It generally takes around 4-6 months to become a foster parent. The fostering assessment process is designed to make sure that you’re right for fostering, and that fostering is right for you. It’s going to affect you, your family, and any future child that we place with you, so it’s important that we spend time getting to know you, and that you fully understand the role too.
The fostering assessment involves:
- Background checks – including a full DBS check
- References - from people who have known you for a long time, previous employers, and any significant ex-partners (please do speak to one of our team members if you have any concerns around this)
- A series of social work visits where we’ll speak to you and your family about various aspects of your life. This helps us gain a better understanding of who you are and the qualities you could bring to a vulnerable child in care
- Initial training to provide you with a better insight into the work we do with children in care, and some key skills you’ll need to step into your new role
A report is written up as part of the assessment. This is called the ‘Form F’, which is then reviewed at Panel by an independent group of people who will then recommend your approval.
Speak to our friendly team today