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. This allows children the chance to thrive in a safe, secure, loving and caring home environment with foster carers.

What is Foster Care?

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.

All children and young people are different, making it difficult to define a “typical child”. However, what you can expect is that, as with any child or young person, they need security, stability and the chance to develop and thrive with carers who understand what is fostering and have empathy for the child’s situation.

Foster Carers

Foster Care is different from adoption, because an adoption order ends a child’s legal relationship with their natural family, whereas looked after children (the children in foster care) remains the legal responsibility of the local authority and/or their birth parents.

Foster carers placements can last for days, months or even years. Many children return home to their families but others may receive long-term support; either through continued fostering, adoption, residential care or by being helped to live independently.

Sunbeam strives to find fostering solutions for the many young people in care. For this reason, Sunbeam provides various types of foster care and training to teach carers all about what is fostering.

Sunbeam specialises in offering different types of placements and fostering solutions.

How to Foster a Child

The decision to foster is an important one. How to Foster a Child is an important question for anyone considering fostering, and requires a lot of thought and consideration. Sunbeam has created a specific Guide to Foster Care to help you decide if fostering is right for you, and answer the question of how to foster a child.

Foster Care

Although fostering a child is a major decision, Sunbeam has created an informative guide and a step by step online application, to make to process of Foster Care as streamlined as possible.

Fostering a child will no doubt change your life, and it is best to get as much information as possible. Read our insightful foster carer profiles on Foster Care and their experiences and advice to those seeking to enter the profession.

With the right background and support, fostering a child can be a rewarding experience. As an private fostering agency, Sunbeam aims to support and guide all its foster carers on how best to foster a child by providing up to date training and development, and staff committed to the welfare of both children and foster carers.

Can I Become a Foster Carer?

We aim to ensure that each child’s needs are met and matched as closely as possible, we use the following selection criteria:

  • Previous employment or experience in children’s services – paid or unpaid.
  • Applicants with particular skills and experience in specific areas as learning difficulties, medical problems etc.
  • Applicants who show a willingness to work towards meeting care standards for fostering.
  • Applicants with experience of previous fostering and/or close involvement with someone who has already fostered.
  • An ability to reflect on life experiences and to mature through them.
  • An ability to see beyond children’s behaviour, and to link it to past trauma, where applicable
  • An empathy for and natural ability to nurture children traumatised by separation from their birth families.
  • Applicants able to accept teenagers
  • Applicants comfortable with parents visiting their home.
  • If living with a partner/ spouse, the relationship should be established and secure.

About Sunbeam Fostering Agency

Sunbeam Fostering Agency has local offices around the country, and we continue to develop and maintain close, personal relationships with our carers and the local communities we support. We do our very best to make sure that every fostering experience inspires confidence and creates wonderful opportunities for the fostering a child and the fostering families.

We know that care is a community effort. That’s why we build excellent relationships with local authorities and the wider communities we serve. Together, we strive to meet the needs of foster carers and fostering a child, whatever the challenges these young people have faced in life so far.

Support is what keeps fostering working, and we’re dedicated to encouraging our amazing foster carers to grow with us. We support them totally so they can make real differences to a child’s life. Our unrivalled support and training is shaped by our carers and tailored to meet the needs of the children.

We are delighted that so many other dedicated individuals, couples and families have joined us throughout the years to make Sunbeam Fostering the outstanding agency, is today.


Steps to become a foster carer

The process of becoming a foster carer is summarised below. You will receive full support at all stages and help with anything you are unsure of.

 

Call us, complete an online enquiry form or arrange a call back


Sunbeam will contact you for an initial discussion and arrange for an enquiry form to be completed over the phone or online. If the enquiry is positive a worker will call you to book an appointment to come out and see you if you wish to proceed further with your enquiry.

A worker from Sunbeam will visit to discuss fostering with you further, to gather some background information about you and your family and to check you have appropriate bedroom space in your home and discuss any other Health & Safety related issues. At this point, you will be asked to provide photocopies of ID and some other documents and to sign a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check consent form. If the visit is positive application form can be completed following the home visit or alternatively this can be completed later and send to us by post.

Once this is completed and your application is accepted, a formal assessment will begin.

The assessment process sometimes called a ‘home study’ or ‘Form F’ essentially involves a review of your suitability to provide foster care. This will be undertaken by a skilled member of our staff and you will receive full support at all stages. As part of the process, you will be required to:

1. Provide references – both personal and employment

2. Undertake a medical check with your GP (paid for by us)

3. Consent to other checks with Local Authorities, schools or other agencies

 

You will receive specific training through a three day training course to prepare you to foster and to achieve “Skills to Foster”. Attending courses will also allow you to meet other carers, share experiences and learn more about foster care. For carers wishing to look after disabled or challenging children, additional training will be provided at this stage.

Following completion of your training and fostering assessment, the report will be submitted to an Independent Panel for approval recommendations to be made in terms of the numbers and ages of children that can be placed with you. You will be asked to attend the Panel with the social worker who completed your assessment.

The Agency decision maker will have the final decision regarding your approval. Once approved you will then be a registered carer with Sunbeam Fostering Agency, and be able to take “looked after children” and young people into your home and care for them. You will be allocated a Supervising Social Worker to help and support you.

The path to becoming a Foster Carer requires a commitment to the assessment process and our current foster carers would be happy to share their experiences of the assessment process.

To become a foster carer contact us today.

“The support from Sunbeam has been excellent always, forming a working relationship is important to me. It’s nice to know I can call them whenever I needed them and they listen or advise me accordingly”

Rebecca

Coventry
“Fostering is a rewarding experience as it allows you to actually make a difference for a child/young person. I feel happy being able to make such a difference whether it is for one day or several years.”

Asma

London
“We have been fostering for the last 8 years and feel proud to be a part of the Sunbeam family. At the beginning, we thought it’s a tough job, but at the end, it gave us both a broad insight into both the tough and rewarding side of fostering”
Hannah-and-Kashif Foster Carers

Hannah and Kashif

London