Fostering questions and answers

What is fostering? Fostering is a way of providing a stable family life for children and young people, who are unable to live with their parents at a point in time. Foster Care allows children the chance to thrive in a safe, secure, loving and caring home environment with foster carers. The children and young people placed with foster carers are from a diverse range of backgrounds and will display different behaviour depending upon their various experiences.

What training will I receive? At Sunbeam we offer all our carers free training, this is a service we offer throughout the year on a regular basis. This is a range of offline and online training. All our trainings are held locally so that it is convenient for our foster carers.

What support will I receive? At Sunbeam, we want to make sure all our foster carers feel supported at all times. This is why we have a support system put in place 365 days of the year, 7 days a week, 24 hours. Once you are an approved foster carer you will have your own dedicated social worker who will keep on contact with you on a regular basis, arrange any additional supervising support services, identify training needs which will help you to develop your learning and achieve your objectives. All children and young people who are placed with Sunbeam foster carers will have their own social worker from the relevant Local Authority who will keep in touch with them throughout their placement, make statutory visits and make care planning decisions with and for them. We also offer support groups for all our carers, this gives you the chance to speak to other carers and their experiences.

Can I still work once I am an approved foster carer? Yes, you can still work once you are an approved foster carer. However, your job will need to be flexible enough that if the child or young person in your care need to be brought home from school during the day that you are able to meet their needs. Or during school holidays, or if they are poorly. However, for children and young people who are not at school, or may have experienced past trauma, they need a stable carer to meet their needs and for them to be around more for them.

Do I need a spare bedroom to foster? Yes, you will need a spare bedroom if you would like to become a foster carer. This is for a number of reasons, like all of us we all need a privacy at times, our own space. Children and young people need this too. When coming into an unknown environment for the first time it can be very daunting, having their own room can help them to settle into their new environment.

Can single people foster? At Sunbeam we have a great number of single and coupled foster carers who are able to bring their own life experiences to help children and young people to grow and develop!

What is the fostering process? To begin with, we will have a brief telephone conversation with you, just to get to know more about you, such as: your name, date of birth, where you live, why you would like to foster and so on. Once that is complete, if you would still like to go ahead and our team are happy to proceed to the next step we will arrange a home visit with you, this is where we will visit your home. During these stages you will need to complete your application form, once this is accepted a formal assessment will begin. The fostering assessment is sometimes known as a form F. This is essentially a review of your stability to become a foster carer. As part of the process, references will need to be provided, both personal and previous employment. Undertake medical checks which will be provided by your GP, consent to other checks with local authorities, schools or other agencies. Once this is complete, you will receive a three-day training course to prepare you to foster. This course is called ‘Skills to foster’. This training will allow you to meet other people and share your experiences. Following the completion of your fostering assessment and training, you will be asked to attend the panel, this is where your report will be submitted to the independent panel. Following panel, they will then decide if you are approved of a foster carer, once approved you will be a registered carer with Sunbeam and be able to take ‘looked after children’ into your home and care for them. You will be allocated a supervising social worker to help and support you.

Do I need experience? We do ask that our foster carers have had previous experience with children, for example this could be looking after your own children, or for family or friends. Previous voluntary work working with children or young people. It could also be through your employment, organisation or clubs.

What are the fostering allowances? As a foster carer you will receive fostering allowance which normally covers things like food, clothing, transportation, pocket money, outings and personal household expenses etc. Sunbeam offers up to £650 fostering allowance per child per week depending on children’s needs. Additionally, we give generous bonuses and foster carers receive other benefits while fostering with us.

If you have any other questions, or would like to know more we have a great helpful and dedicated team who would be happy to talk to you and help you start your fostering journey.