Our Foster Carers
All of our foster carers are different and each brings a unique set of strengths and skills to the role.
We consider all applications to foster on an individual basis – whether you’re single or a couple, straight or LGBTQ+, disabled, a homeowner or renting, or whatever your religious or cultural background is, we believe you can foster and want to support you.
All you need is to:
- have a spare bedroom big enough for a child or young person to live in
- to be a full-time resident in the UK or have leave to remain
- to be able to give the time to care for a child or young person
You may have many questions. So we’ve put together some of the most common questions, with answers, that we hear from potential Foster Carers. Check out our Fostering FAQ section below.
Foster Care Stories
Want to hear from some of our foster carers about what it’s really like? Watch the video “My Foster Family” – Amy.
Make a difference.
Do you want to make a difference to a child’s life?
Call us on 0800 634 5300.
Do I have to own my home?
No, it doesn’t matter if your home is owned or rented, or if you live in private rented, council or housing association accommodation so long as your rent or mortgage payments are up to date, you have your landlord’s permission and it is of a clean standard. The important thing is that you are settled and not likely to leave at short notice and that you can offer a foster child or young person his or her own room.
Do I have to have a spare bedroom?
Yes, and this must be available at the time of application. Part of the assessment takes into consideration your accommodation and if a spare bedroom is not available the assessment can not go ahead. If your child has gone off to University and you plan to use their bedroom, will there be enough room when they come home for holidays? Foster children must feel that they belong and therefore cannot be asked to give their room up when family or friends come to visit.
Can single people foster?
Yes, we are looking for individuals and families who are motivated and committed to fostering with an ability to offer a child or young person a safe and secure environment at a difficult time in their lives.
Can I still go out to work?
Yes, but you need to have a good support network who can help you manage: the school run, school days, school holidays and any unexpected childhood illnesses. You will also have meetings to attend too so your employer will also need to be supportive of your role.
If I am going to be the main foster carer, do you need to carry out checks on my partner?
We regard all couples living together as partners in the fostering process so we would require that you both have the necessary checks and training and that both take part in the assessment process. Even if you are the main carer, anyone sharing your home will have some involvement in and influence on the fostering environment. We will also need to carry out checks on all adult members of the household.
If I have a criminal conviction, does this mean I won’t be able to foster?
It depends on the nature of the criminal offence. You will be asked to disclose any criminal convictions before you make an application. Being honest and open is very important.
Later in the assessment you will be asked to share the results of an enhanced DBS check that has been undertaken by CANW on your behalf.
How long does it take to become a foster carer?
The Fostering regulations allow for an assessment to take up to 8 months. But we know that once you have decided to foster you are keen to get approved. Therefore, we aim to complete the process between 4-6 months. We will listen to you and take into consideration your commitments and expectations.
What will I know about the child or young person before they are placed with me?
We discuss every placement with our carers and it’s their decision to accept a child into their home. We share all the information that we know about the child or young person and their background. However, sometimes children come into foster care with very little information, especially in an emergency situation. In these circumstances the professional team will work as quickly as possible to piece together information.
We have highly skilled staff who match children with the right foster family, but the decision to take a child in and look after them is always made after lots of discussion and the final decision rests with our carers.
How it is decided which child and how long they will stay?
During your assessment you will discuss which age, gender, ethnicity, religion and characteristics/behaviours of potential foster children would suit your household best and this will be noted when you are approved.
But all children and circumstances are different. We provide long-term and short-term fostering services as well as more specialist kinds of foster placements – including emergency, sibling groups, disability, Step down (coming out of residential) and parent and child care. All these types of placements have different timescales and expectations that you can explore during your assessment and choose which type of fostering you want to do!
Can a child I foster share a bedroom with one of my own children?
No – there needs to be a spare bedroom for fostering. If the bedroom is big enough then it can be sometimes agreed that we can place a young sibling group in that room if it is in the best interests of the children to share.
Do I get paid to foster?
You will receive three amounts of money from CANW each week.
The weekly allowance is intended to cover all the needs of each foster child including: food, clothing, travel, activities, pocket money, savings and so on. There are other allowances to assist with: birthdays, holidays and festivals. We provide guidance on how money should be spent on each child, to ensure that the child has a healthy life with opportunities for them to reach their potential.
The Professional fee is the money that is yours to acknowledge that you are expected to undertake fostering tasks such as: recording notes, attend meetings and complete regular training. We will identify specific training with CANW to assist you in expanding your skills as a foster carer.
We also give a weekly Delegated Authority allowance per household to enable you to pay for babysitters or for other help from within your support network .
Who can foster?
Most people can foster, but when we consider applications we look closely at the following areas:
• Your ability to be flexible, resilient and optimistic.
• Your parenting skills, attitude and personality, including any experience of caring for children.
• Your time available and ability to provide a caring and nurturing environment.
• Your health and background.
• Your family lifestyle and other family members.
• Space in your home, including sleeping arrangements.
• Statutory and personal references.
• Your ability to work in partnership with the agency and as part of a professional team.
Things that are less important to us are your age, marital status and employment status.