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What is Foster Care

Fostering is a way of providing children and young people in local authority care; with a caring and nurturing environment, during a period where their own family is unable to look after them. This is often only a temporary arrangement, and many fostered children return to their birth families once the problems that caused them to come into foster care have been sorted out.

Why do children need Foster care

There is a range of reasons as to why they need to be in foster care. It may be because of a family illness, family breakdown and problems at home, or a situation where their welfare is threatened. Many children and young people may have experienced neglect or physical, emotional or sexual abuse. While their stories will be different, every child will have faced loss and separation from their birth family.

As a result of their life experiences, they may have difficult or challenging behaviour. Some children may throw tantrums, be aggressive or reject your care. Others may be withdrawn, clingy, act younger than their years and be unable to express their feelings.

Their behaviour can also be from moving from foster parent to foster parent, or simply from being placed in foster care in the first place. It is important that, as a foster parent, you understand that this is not a reflection on you. You’re there to help a child or young person feel secure, safe and cared for. Our fostering agency is here to do the same for you.

Who can Foster

You can foster irrespective of your marital status, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, or whether you are a homeowner, renting, a parent or a non-parent.
Foster carers need to come from a variety of backgrounds and have different life experiences, skills and qualities so that they can help meet the varying needs of children and young people in foster care. We aim to ensure that each child’s needs are met and matched as closely as possible.

We use the following selection criteria:

  • Previous employment or experience in children’s services – paid or unpaid.
  • Applicants with particular skills and experience in specific areas such as learning difficulties, medical problems etc.
  • Applicants who show a willingness to work towards meeting care standards for fostering.
  • Applicants with experience of previous fostering and/or close involvement with someone who has already fostered.
  • An ability to reflect on life experiences and to mature through them.
  • An ability to see beyond children’s behaviour, and to link it to past trauma, where applicable
  • An empathy for and natural ability to nurture children traumatised by separation from their birth families.
  • Applicants able to accept teenagers
  • Applicants comfortable with parents visiting their home.
  • If living with a partner/ spouse, the relationship should be established and secure.

Types of Foster care

Sure Start Fostering Agency provides many different types of foster care to meet the needs of children across London. These include Long term, Short term, Bridging, Respite, Emergency and parent and child fostering placements.

Emergency Placement

These placements come at short notice, when a child needs to be re-homed immediately due to it being unsafe for them to stay where they are. This requires a quick yet thorough review of the specific needs of the child and matching these with a suitable foster carer.

Short term Placement

These are the most common types of placements and can be required for anything between a few days or weeks to a couple of years. The children involved may be going through care proceedings or waiting to be adopted or their family may be temporarily unable to care for them due their circumstances. This requires the child to stay with you for a short period of time until their longer-term plans are finalised.

Bridging Placement

It is a type of short term foster care. Foster carers work with child/young person and their families towards reunification or prepare the child/young person for joining adoptive or long term/permanent fostering families or moving to semi independence.

Long term or permanent placement

These placements are for children whose long-term care plan is known and they will stay in care until they become adults or beyond in some cases. These sorts of placements offer permanence and stability to children who can’t or don’t wish to be adopted.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children/Young People

In light of the current refugee crisis, Sure Start Fostering Agency aims to recruit families from diverse backgrounds to support children and young people who are deemed unaccompanied asylum seekers or in cases where their residency with the UK is still uncertain. We offer specialist training and support foster families on matters related to immigration and social integration of the child/young person within their specific community as well as British society.

Targeted or Specialist placement

Our specialist placements would attract a higher degree of support and supervision to our foster carers. The support also involves a specialist training and an enhanced allowance to ensure that the carers understand the specific needs of these children and are well supported to care for the children effectively.

Solo placement

Where the needs of the child or young person are so complex that it requires a higher level of support and supervision, which precludes the placement of any other child or young person within the remaining vacancies in the foster home.

Placement for Children with additional needs

These placements are targeted at children who may have additional complex needs as a result of a disability, condition or previous life experiences.

Parent and child placement

Parent and child foster placements involve both the child and their parent (usually a mother) staying with foster carers. The focus of these placements is to support the parent learn basic care skills from the foster carer to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their child.

Remand placement

Where a young person is remanded by court into public care.

Rewards of Fostering

When a child is placed into foster care, the cost of caring for them is paid to the Foster Carer in the form of a fostering allowance. This is made up of financial payments that cover the costs of caring for a child and a professional fee for their work. This enables Foster Carers to commit to fostering as a full-time career.

Our Foster Carers deserve to be rewarded for their hard work. Although we know it is impossible to place a monetary value on work that Foster Carers undertake on a day to day basis, our generous allowances take into account the demands of fostering and the significant role they play in a child or young person’s life.

Excellent Foster Carer Pay

The amount of allowance paid depends on the type of fostering you do, with considerations like the age and individual needs of the child.

The fees we pay to our Foster Parents vary according to the type of fostering you do. You’ll receive an excellent weekly pay for each foster child.