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What is Fostering?

It's about giving love back to people that have not had a greatest start... nurturing them to grow, have positive experiences and feel loved.

What is Foster Care?

Foster care is a safeguarding system to provide safe, stable family homes for vulnerable young people. 

When young people under 18 can no longer live with their birth parents for various reasons, they are placed within the foster care system, which provides temporary to long-term care in a family environment under the supervision of dedicated Foster Carers. 

Young people come into care through their local authority and are placed with either the local authorities Foster Carers or a dedicated fostering agency, such as Empower Fostering. 

While local authorities may have their own team of Foster Carers, they rely on independent agencies to offer additional support, not only to the Foster Carers but with placements where a young person may have additional needs, or when a sibling group needs to be kept together. 

We take great pride in recruiting and training high-quality Foster Carers. We carefully match our carers with children and young people to achieve the best outcomes for every placement, including those in our care, and for our foster families. 

What is a Foster Carer?

A Foster Carer is a self-employed carer who looks after young people under 18 whilst they can no longer live with their birth parents. Foster Carers take on the roles and responsibilities of a parent to provide the young person with a safe family home with care, support and compassion. 

They must be willing to open their home to vulnerable young people and provide them with the best care to grow and thrive. Foster Carers must be responsible for the young person’s needs and welfare, providing a home, clothing, education, hobbies, and healthcare and giving love, understanding, support, and guidance. 

Our Foster Carers don’t work alone. They are part of a team of professionals involved in the welfare of the young person and are given training, fully comprehensive support and guidance. 

Who Can Foster?

Anyone can foster as long as you can demonstrate you have the skills and capacity to care for a child.  You need to be resilient, kind and have a support network around you. You will also need to have a spare room for the child or young person.

We welcome applications from individuals of any age or gender; there is no upper age limit. Your sexual orientation is not important to being a Foster Carer and will not stop you from fostering. As part of your assessment to foster, you will have a medical with your doctor and as long as you are physically and emotionally fit enough to care and support a young person, then age is not an issue.

Your skills

Your skills and life experience will be an invaluable resource during your foster-caring career. Sometimes, you may not realise you have the qualities needed to foster, but you will be surprised how everyday life has equipped you with transferable skills. If you:

  • Are patient 

  • Have a sense of humour

  • Are optimistic and enthusiastic

  • Have a flexible approach

  • Have a genuine wish to make a positive impact in a young person's life

Then you have many of the skills and qualities needed to become a Foster Carer!

What you need

  • Have a spare bedroom 

  • The capacity to include your foster child as part of your family

  • To be prepared to care for young people of all ages

  • Be a full-time resident in the UK

Fostering statistics in England... 

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In England, there are 43,905 foster families

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57,540 children were living with foster families 

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70% of the 82,170 children in care looked after away from home.

  • Can I foster if I am single?
    Yes, of course you can. Anyone can foster as long as they are able to demonstrate that they have the skills and capacity to care for a child. You need to be resilient, kind and have a support network around you.
  • How long does it take to become a Foster Carer?
    The length of time for assessments varies depending on individual circumstances. However, we complete assessments within three to five months on average.
  • Do I have to have a spare room?
    Yes, you do need to have a spare room. All children must have a room of their own unless they are a sibling group and the social worker agrees that they can share a room.
  • I am over 60 can I still apply?
    We welcome applications from individuals of any age and there is no upper age limit! Everyone who applies will have a medical with their GP and as long as you are physically and emotionally fit enough to support a child/young people, then age is not an issue.
  • I have a criminal record can I still foster?
    It's important that you let us know about any criminal records you may have. A previous conviction will not necessarily preclude you from fostering. Much will depend on the nature of the offence and when it occurred. We will carry out an enhanced DBS check on everyone who applied and would ask that you are open and honest from the start with any convictions. This way we can assess whether you can continue on the assessment journey.
  • What training will I receive?
    We have a full and varied training program. Some of this is online and some face to face. As part of your assessment we will run workshops on top of your 'Skills to Foster' course. Again, these will be both face to face and virtual depending on the need at the time. We will try to be flexible and ensure that this fits around your life and young people. We are here to support you with your training.
  • What Support can I get?
    When you become an approved Foster Carer with Empower Fostering, you will be allocated a supervising social worker to meet with you once a fortnight to discuss how the child/young person is progressing. You will also be able to speak to a team member seven days a week, 24 hours per day, 365 days a year. In addition, there are support meetings with other Foster Carers in your area.
  • What training and learning opportunities are available?
    After completing your 'Skills to Foster' course and becoming an approved carer, there will be planned learning opportunities available throughout the year, covering topics such as 'keeping children safe', 'managing behavior', 'developing self-esteem in children' and 'promoting good health'.
  • How do I become a Foster Carer?
    You will receive advice and information from one of our team members during your initial phone contact. When you are ready, you will be assigned a dedicated assessor who will visit you and assist you throughout the process. A referee, medical, and DBS check will be done, and you will be asked to undergo a 'Skills to Foster' training session. The assessment procedure typically takes 4-6 months.
  • What Happens at an Initial Home Visit?
    One of our team members will visit your house for a casual talk on looking after small children and young people. We'll discuss the process of becoming a Foster Carer, offer book and research recommendations, and go over your responsibilities as a Foster Carer.
  • How do you match a child or young person with Foster Carers?
    We carefully match Foster Carers with children. During the assessment process, we will get a better understanding of what would work for you and your home, which will help us make the right matches.
  • Do I have any say in the child or young person placed with me?
    Yes. The matching process is fundamental for you and the child or young person. We will match the needs and requirements of the child or young person with what you can offer. This will be discussed with you in-depth during your assessment.
  • Can you foster if you are in debt?
    If you have debt, you are not necessarily disqualified to foster. This would be examined during the fostering assessment and approval process because each person's circumstance differs. Do not be worried that your debt will prevent you from becoming a Foster Carer. To learn more, get in touch with us for a completely private and informal chat.
  • Can I get a mortgage as a Foster Carer?
    Yes! There are several mortgage lenders that will allow you use your entire fostering income, and there are even specific mortgage lenders and products made only for foster carers.
  • Can you be a Foster Carer if you live in affordable housing?
    Certainly, being a resident of affordable housing does not stop you from wishing to foster.
  • Do you get paid per family or per child when fostering?
    Typically, the foster allowance is determined by how many children or young people you are looking after.

Ready to talk about fostering?
Get in touch with us today for a friendly chat. 

01823 756 100  |

Unit 2 Prockters Farm Offices, West Monkton, Taunton Somerset, TA2 8QN

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