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Family and friends foster care

Family and friends foster care

When a parent or guardian is no longer able to look after a child, it can be a very traumatic time for the child.  We know the best option for the child is to be looked after by someone they know well.  This is when family and friends fostering can be very important as living with a relative or friend of the family will make it much easier for the child. 

If you are considering putting yourself forward as a Family and Friends Foster Carer, here’s some information to help you understand what’s involved.

How long does it take?

This process can take around 6 months depending on circumstances, although in some circumstances it can be completed sooner. Although it may seem a long process, we need to be sure that this is the right decision for you and the child involved. 

What’s the process?

  • In order to consider placing a child with you and your family, we need to get to know you by conducting an assessment.  The child’s social worker and supervising social worker will come and visit you and your family at home.  They will have an informal and friendly chat with you, to determine if this is the right decision for you and the child.
  • In some cases you may then be able to care for the child, in an emergency placement. In other circumstances we will complete the full assessment before considering moving the child.
  • You will be allocated your own social worker, who will be able to support you through the assessment process.  This stage is all about us getting to know you and your family even better. To do this our social worker will visit you and your family to find out about your life, childhood, your family and anything else they feel will affect you becoming a Foster Carer.  As part of the assessment, we also need to carry out things like police checks and obtain personal referees.

At the end of the assessment process our social worker will write a report with a recommendation which will then go to the Fostering Panel. 

  • The final stage in the process is the fostering panel.  The panel meet once a month and are made up of staff from social care, health, education, a Foster Carer from another local authority and a person who has been fostered.  They will come together to make a recommendation regarding your approval to be a Foster Carer. 
  • Should you be approved, you will then become the Foster Carer for that specific child.  However if the courts are also making decisions about the child’s welfare, due to Family Court Proceedings, the Judge may require additional information or occasionally take a different view. You would be encouraged to seek legal advice in these circumstances.
  • Once approved you will be allocated a Fostering Social Worker who will support and guide you in your fostering responsibilities. You will be provided training to help you care for the child/ren placed with you.  

Do I get an allowance?

  • Family and friend Foster Carers do receive a significant allowance.  This amount will depend on the number of children and their ages.  Payments will start once the child begins to live with you.