There are at any one time more than 65,000 children in the UK in the care system and as the population grows so does the number of children requiring foster homes. Choosing to become a foster parent and deciding to give something back to society can be a wonderful but often daunting experience with many people not knowing where to start.

 

What is fostering? Or what is foster care? Or how to become a foster carer?


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. 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 children’s needs and have empathy for their situation.

Fostering vs Adoption


Fostering differs from adoption, in that an adoption order ends a child’s legal relationship with their natural family, whereas looked after children remain 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 develop our carers to provide best possible care to our looked after children.

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

Who can foster?


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 such 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.

Reasons be a foster carer with Sunbeam


  • Rated Outstanding by Ofsted (London office)
  • Extensive information will be provided to you to assist your transfer
  • We have a strong focus on quality and better outcomes for children
  • Our organisation has been in operation for 15 years and we have developed an excellent reputation
  • We have strong Local Authority relationships
  • Our fostering allowances are competitive
  • You will have 24 hour access to staff and support for 365 days per year
  • We will develop a career path for you to develop new fostering skills
  • Promotion of equal opportunities for all
  • Comprehensive insurance will be provided for you to cover any wilful damage by foster children
  • Excellent training including online access

“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

Sunbeam offers up to £650 per child per week

Aside from fostering allowances, there is other help available to foster carers, for example, 24/7 local support and regular training programmes.