There will undoubtedly be many questions that arise for you as you consider a fostering career. If there is anything that is not answered in the information supplied on this website please do not hesitate to contact us. Here are some frequently asked questions…
Is there an age limit for fostering?
You have to be at least 25, although there’s no upper age limit; you just need to be fit enough and healthy enough to care for young people and mature enough to cope with the responsibility.
Can foster children share a bedroom with other children?
Foster children must have their own bedrooms. The only time foster children are allowed to
share a room is if they are same-sex siblings and if the local authority approve this.
Will my spouse/partner also need to be assessed?
Yes, if you are living together you will be assessed jointly, and you will both need to attend the Skills to Foster training during assessment. Once approved you will also both need to complete further training.
I am a single person and I am interested in becoming a Foster Carer, can I still apply?
Yes! We welcome applications from single individuals.
Do I have to own my own home to foster?
No, but you must not have rent arrears. You need a stable home with no risk of eviction. If you rent, references will be taken up with your landlord.
Am I able to foster if I am working?
If you are a couple, then one of you must be prepared to be a full time Foster Carer. If you are single, then you must be prepared to give up your job or be highly flexible so as to give more time to care for a child/young person, attend training and meetings etc. Bear in mind also that a child may not be in school for a period of time either, so this could affect your work. We offer our foster carers opportunities to undertake flexible bank work at the Caldecott Foundation too. This is a great opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills and build relationships with young people, while giving you some income in between placements.
When do I start getting paid?
You will be paid from the first day a child is placed with you. Our payments are made electronically every two weeks. Fostering is not a guaranteed income therefore you are only paid when you have a child placed with your family. However, you may wish to undertake bank work at the Caldecott Foundation in between placements.
Will I have to pay tax if I receive money for fostering?
Foster carers in the UK do not pay tax on the first £10,000 of their fostering income. There are additional tax exemptions of £200 per week (for under 11s) or £250 per week (for over 11s).
Who can I use as a referee?
We require four written references as part of your application to foster, two of which may be from family members and two from non-family members. If you are applying to foster as a couple, some of your referees must know you as a couple (as well as individually) and must be able to comment on your relationship. Ideally your referees should have known you well and for a long period of time and will be in a position to talk about your interactions with children and your potential skills as foster carers.
I have a criminal conviction. Will that prevent me from becoming a Caldecott foster carer?
This depends on the type of offence and your subsequent history. Whilst some offences might not prevent a formal assessment, the decision to approve you as a Foster Carer will rest with the Fostering Panel and agency decision maker. There are some criminal convictions that will absolutely preclude you from becoming a foster carer. Please discuss this with us. It’s always best to be open and honest so everyone can make an informed decision and that children and young people can be safeguarded.
Does the assessment include a medical?
Yes. You will need to have a medical with your own GP which, once complete, will be sent to our Medical Advisor for his view and recommendation. We need to make sure that foster carers have a good enough level of general health to look after young people in their care.
What training will I be given?
You will need to complete the Skills to Foster training during your assessment. This will take place over a number of days (usually 3 days). Once you are approved you will need to complete several mandatory training courses, some of which are online with some face-to- face. Thereafter there is a wide range of courses provided that will help you develop your knowledge, skills and resilience in the fostering task.
Our foster carers provide great feedback on our training. We invest in our foster carers and so ensure that we are flexible and innovative in the delivery of our training. Mostly, our face- to-face training is held at our Whitstable office and sometimes at the Caldecott Foundation’s headquarters in Ashford.
What happens if a placement isn’t working out?
We adopt a robust approach to matching children to our foster families. That’s why our placements are so successful and stable, and our children thrive and achieve. Our team will be in very regular contact with you, supporting you every step of the way. Any difficulties that you are experiencing will be promptly identified, so that the team around the child can consider these with you and make the appropriate adjustments and interventions to you and your family.
What is a Fostering Panel?
The Fostering Panel is made up of a group of diverse independent professionals from within the social care sector and related fields. For example, the independent panel is usually made up of professionals with backgrounds in social work, therapy, police, health, education, foster care. It is a regulatory requirement for the fostering agency to have its own panel. All fostering assessments must be presented to the panel for them to review and make appropriate recommendations. The panel also fulfils an important quality assurance role within the agency.
What is the difference between Caldecott Fostering and Local Authority Fostering?
You may wish to foster with an independent fostering agency or with your local authority. This is entirely your choice. The assessment process is essentially the same. Independent fostering agencies such as Caldecott are typically privately owned and managed. (Some independent agencies are also charities and agencies can vary in size).
Local authorities also have in-house fostering services that operate in a similar way. Local authorities are legally responsible for safeguarding; and the outcomes of; all children in care. For a variety of reasons, local authorities couldn’t match supply and demand and therefore fostering agencies like ourselves, along with charities, began to operate.
If you foster for Caldecott, we will typically offer you very competitive rates of pay, excellent levels of support, and more frequent visits from your allocated Supervising Social Worker than a local authority service may be able to provide. We also provide a range of high-quality training and 24-hour support from qualified social workers.
Ultimately, it is important that you understand what support, service and resources are available to you from either and how this fits with what you are looking for.