Got questions about fostering? Below are some of the questions which people often ask us about fostering.
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The purpose of foster care is to provide a safe and stable environment for children who cannot be looked after by their own families. Fostered children stay with their foster carers until their own families are able to look after them, which may be for a few days or it could be until they are 18.
There are lots of reasons why children go into foster care. Sometimes they have been abused or neglected by their parents, and other times their parents have an illness which means they need to be looked after on a short-term basis.
When a child is adopted their legal relationship with their birth parents ends and all responsibilities for them are transferred to their adoptive parents. When a child is fostered, however, their birth family carry on being their legal guardians. Foster parents receive extra support which adoptive parents don't, such as financial allowances, on-going training, and 24/7 support from social workers.
Foster care agencies, such as Parallel Parents, are private companies that work in partnership with Local Authorities in order to place children and young people with foster carers.
Parallel Parents offer foster carers better personal support than Local Authorities are able to because our social workers have fewer foster carers to support. We also provide better financial allowances (up to £500 per week per child you look after), give our foster carers paid holidays and breaks, and train our foster carers regularly.
Foster care allowances are given to foster carers in order to practically help them care for the children they look after – and reward them for their hard work. If you foster with Parallel Parents you can receive up to £500 per week, per child you look after. This is usually tax-free and doesn't affect any benefits you already receive.
Having a criminal record does not necessarily prevent you from becoming a foster carer – it depends what your convictions relate to and how recently they have taken place. Each case is individually looked at when you apply.
Just like any child, fostered children need to be taken to school, go on outings and visit their family and friends. Being able to drive makes all this a lot easier, but if you cannot drive fostering is still open to you as long as you have good access to public transport.
When you apply to be a foster carer you will have a criminal record check and a medical assessment. We'll also request a check from your Local Authority and will get references from your friends, family and employer. For more info on the process of becoming a foster carer please click
It usually takes about six months to become a foster carer. Once you have been approved you could have your first placement the next day but it's more likely that you'll wait a few weeks for the right child for you and your family. For more information on the process of becoming a foster carer click here.
If you're a non-EU citizen you need to have indefinite leave to remain in the UK in order to become a foster carer. If you have lived in the UK for less than five years we also need to complete criminal record checks and other background checks from your previous countries of residence during that time.