Help and support for foster parents –
1. Training & Development
You need to complete the training, support, and development standards workbook within 12 months of being approved to foster.
Contact your fostering service to find out what other training and development is available. They should help you:
- with a personal development plan
- take part in learning and development sessions
The Foster Carers’ Charter explains your rights as a foster parent.
You do not have a statutory right to time off work to care for foster children.
If you’re fostering for adoption you’ll be entitled to adoption pay and leave from when the child comes to live with you.
2. Help with the cost of fostering
All foster parents get a foster care allowance to help cover the cost of caring for a child. You might get additional payments, depending on:
- If the child has specific needs
- How many children you’re fostering
- Your skills and experience
- Your fostering service
Contact your fostering service to find out how much you get.
Minimum weekly allowance
The minimum allowance you’ll get depends on where you live and the age of the child you care for.
Age 0 to 2 Age 3 to 4 Age 5 to 10 Age 11 to 15 Age 16 to 17 London £152 £155 £174 £197 £231 South East £146 £150 £166 £189 £222 Rest of England £132 £135 £149 £170 £198
These figures are for the tax year from 6 April 2020 to 5 April 2021. They’re updated every April.
Allowance rates when the child is 18
Children stop being in care when they reach 18, even if they’re still living with you. There is no minimum allowance when your child is old enough to leave foster care.
Contact your fostering service for more information.
You may be able to apply to your fostering service for extra money to help with things like:
- School trips
- Religious festivals
3. Making decisions for your foster child
Your foster child’s placement plan should tell you what decisions you can make, known as delegated authority.
There are 3 different levels to delegated authority:
- Day-to-day decisions like dental check ups, hair cuts, school trips, parent-teacher meetings and letting your child go to sleepovers
- Long-term decisions like which school a child goes to
- Significant decisions made by the local authority and birth parents, like surgery
If your child’s placement plan does not tell you what level of delegated authority you have you should contact your fostering service to find out.
You may not have the same level of authority for each child you foster. For example, you might foster 2 children and have the right to sign a consent form for one of them.
Going on holiday
If you do not have the authority to take your foster child on holiday you’ll need to speak to their social worker.
You’ll also need to:
- tell your child’s social worker when you’ll be going and when you’ll be back
- get a letter of consent from your child’s social worker for passport control (if you’re going abroad)
Medical treatment for your foster child
You may not have the right to give consent to medical treatment. Check your child placement plan to find out if you have the authority to let your foster child have:
- a medical examination
- local or general anaesthetic
4. Getting support
You should get support from your fostering service, your local council and social workers. You can also get support and advice from Fosterline.
Your local council must provide your foster child with a personal adviser from age 16 or 17 to age 25. They will help your foster child move to independent living or support them to stay with you (this is called a ‘staying put’ arrangement).
Extra support is available when your foster child reaches age 16, 18 and 21.
Support from your fostering service
Your foster child gets a placement plan. This tells you about the child and their needs. The fostering service should invite you to meetings on your foster child’s progress and placement plan.
Your family should get:
- access to an out of hours advice and support service
- access to support groups
- practical, financial and emotional support
- training and a personal development plan, which is reviewed every year
- an opportunity to take a break from fostering if you need it
Dealing with allegations
If an allegation is made against you or anyone in your home, your local authority must:
- investigate it
- support you through it
- update you on progress
- help resolve any disagreements
They may remove your foster child from your home or ask the person the allegation is about to leave. They will also look at the safety of any other children in your home.
Support from social workers
You’ll have contact with 2 social workers:
- your foster child’s social worker – they make sure you meet the child’s needs
- a supervising social worker to help and support you as a foster parent
Your supervising social worker is there to support you as a foster parent. Contact them if you need:
- emotional support
- to talk about any concerns or worries you have about your foster child
- help to develop your skills as a foster parent
Your social workers must make sure you understand their policies on fostering, including:
- how to manage your foster child’s behaviour
- financial support for foster parents
They must review your approval to foster at least once a year to make sure you’re still suitable.
Social workers may decide to have some meetings without you if they think it’s best for the foster child.
Social worker visits
Your child’s social worker must visit you and your foster child:
- in the first week the child comes to live with you
- once every 6 weeks in the first year
- every 3 to 6 months after the child has lived with you for a year
They must also visit you once a year without telling you they’re coming.
You or your foster child can ask for more visits from the social worker.
Ending a placement
You must give 28 days’ notice to your social worker if you no longer wish to be the child’s foster parent.
Support from Sure Start
Call Sure Start Fostering to get advice on fostering.
Sure Start Fostering
We can provide help and advice about fostering, including information about:
- Dealing with allegations