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Fostering - Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Can I still become a foster carer if I'm on benefits?

Yes. The Family Placement Team will offer you advice and guidance on this matter.

I have a criminal conviction; does this mean I won't be able to become a foster carer?

Not necessarily. This would be considered at your initial enquiry stage. However, should you have any criminal convictions in relation to any vulnerable group (children/young people or adults) this would preclude you from being considered.

Why do children need to be looked after by the Council?

Children can be cared for by someone other than their family for many reasons for example:

  • Their parent(s) are unable to cope because of addiction or mental health needs
  • The children has suffered abuse or neglect.

How much information about the child will I receive before I foster them?

Your social worker and the child's social worker will provide you with all the necessary information.

Do I have a choice in who I foster?

Yes. However, for the purposes of temporary and shared care fostering, your Family Placement Social worker would look to consider matching. You will always have the opportunity to say no, especially if you feel the needs of the child will not be met or if the match is not appropriate.

We also require emergency carers who are flexible both in terms of age and circumstances. These placements are short term in nature and for up to 7 days.


I already have a family - how is being a foster carer different to raising my own children?

Foster children require particular care because they may have experienced traumatic events and have unmet needs as a result. They may have additional support needs, such as, education or health and will require carers that can help them reach their potential.


Are the child's birth parents involved in their care?

When you foster you are parenting on behalf of the child's own parent(s). While the birth parents do not have day-to-day care of the child they continue to hold parental rights and responsibilities and they will still have a say in some things.

You will often help the child attend contact with parents'. You will be working in partnership with the child's social worker and others involved in planning their future.


What help and support is available to foster carers?

There is help and support from your social worker. You will have access to a variety of training and have the opportunity to attend a monthly carers support group.


Are there qualifications in foster care?

Foster carers are expected to undertake core and mandatory training deemed appropriate to meet their own developmental needs and those of the child.


Will I be taxed on the money I get to foster a child?

You are required to register with the HMRC as self-employed.


Will I have to pay National Insurance on the money I receive?

You will be expected to pay National Insurance contributions as worked out by HMRC.


Will my benefits stop if I become a foster carer?

Your benefits could be affected but we can work with you to minimise the impact and make sure you're making the most of the benefits you are entitled to claim.