Advice on fostering please


I'm trying to decide the best option for my family with regard to becoming a foster carer. I have three children one ds 22 who does not live at home, dd 7 and ds 5 (who is in the first stages of being assessed for Asbergers).

I have fostered previously many years ago before I met my husband with the local social services and looked after four different children within the school holidays. I really enjoyed the experience, although it was hard at times for son who was then 9 as he had to sleep in my room due to having a two bed house then.

Now my thoughts are I want to work from home, I want to be here whilst my kids are young and I want to experience the huge positive gain if I have changed the life for the better for just one child. No job satisfaction can equal that for me. However, fostering is a vocation, although better paid now by fostering agencies (approx 400 weekly, with tax benefits) its still underpaid for 24 hour care of a needy child.

So question is do I work for an agency (NFA look good?) or work for the council where the wages will be much lower? I would like to know anyones experience of either. Do I assume correctly that the agency would have the more demanding children and not have the same amount of work as the council? If I don't work then I have no pay.

Thank you for reading.


  • Alikay
    Alikay Forumite Posts: 5,146
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    edited 6 October 2011 at 11:03AM
    Probably depends on the area , agency and age of children you hope to foster.

    In our area younger children with few behavioural problems or additional needs tend to be placed "in house" and the agencies get the trickier to place children, which includes larger sibling groups. All councils have very tight budgets at the moment and will place with LA foster carers where possible due to costs.

    I doubt you'd have many periods without a placement working for the council, as you could always do a bit of respite care between longer term placements.

    Payment wise, I believe most councils pay around the National Minimum Foster Allowances so quite a bit less than the agency you're considering.
  • puddy
    puddy Forumite Posts: 12,709 Forumite
    yes, the agency will have much more demanding children and they tend to be older (i assess for both a LA and an agency), but because your children are quite young, you would be looking at over 10s (ish) anyway, or babies

    have you thought about unaccompanied minors? have you thought about mother and baby placements, they are very in demand now that mother and baby placements in residential placements cost too much and are being cut 'in house'.

    how big is the room you have to offer would it be suitable for a parent and child?
  • rachbc
    rachbc Forumite Posts: 4,461 Forumite
    I'm considering training for the mother and baby placements - would you be able to give anymore info puddy?
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  • cobbingstones
    cobbingstones Forumite Posts: 1,011 Forumite
    Thank you for your replies.

    I have a double room, so yes a mother and baby could be a possibility. If you could provide more info that would be very appreciated.
  • puddy
    puddy Forumite Posts: 12,709 Forumite
    well mother and baby approvals should be done with a more specialised assessment but to be honest many authorities and agencies dont, they just look at whether you would be good at supporting a parent with a child

    you need to think more about how you would work with an adult in the house, many people wouldnt be comfortable with this as its different to having a child to 'look after'. you wouldnt be looking after the parent per se (although some may be children themselves) but you would be both supporting but also monitoring the care the parent gives the child. some of these sorts of placements may be stepping stones where baby has already been in care for some time, mum has made some progress with whatever problems she had, and then a mother and baby placement is the next step to see if she can put those learned skills into place,,,or mother and baby may be put straight into a placement for monitoring or a low level community assessment but the risks mean this cant be done in mother's own home. so as a carer you may be asked to provide evidence about her care and abilities (to inform the assessment not do it yourself), you would be logging everything all the time anyway as a carer and theres always the chance that your records are used for court but more so with mother and baby placements.

    it can be more pressurised in a way, there may be some where supervisory levels are high, meaning you're sort of tied to this other adult all the time, but its very rewarding if mother is able to respond to the changes needed, you can support that and then enable mother to meet the needs of her child. obviously that doesnt always happen which is difficult to deal with.
  • gottodothis_2
    gottodothis_2 Forumite Posts: 34 Forumite
    Fostering is very worthwhile, i have three fosters here, all siblings. I am about to take another.

    I am suprised you were able to foster in a two bed and your son giving up his room... that would not happen now.

    I am looking into mother and baby fostering too for when my lot are older!

    Good luck
  • cobbingstones
    cobbingstones Forumite Posts: 1,011 Forumite
    Could I ask if you are working for a private agency? If so, what have been your experiences?
  • gottodothis_2
    gottodothis_2 Forumite Posts: 34 Forumite
    Could I ask if you are working for a private agency? If so, what have been your experiences?

    Local authority, Its been hard, no training, naughty wilfull kids :A but i wouldn't swap for the world.

    The three i have are related to me. The new one i am being assessed for is 10 months old and she too is a distant relative.

    I have three double bedrooms and two smaller ones
  • Nixer
    Nixer Forumite Posts: 333 Forumite
    Nothing to add of practical use but I just wanted to thank you all for being foster carers. It's so important and yet something that almost seems to be forgotten or taken for granted. Thank you.
  • kingfisherblue
    kingfisherblue Forumite Posts: 9,203
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Xmas Saver!
    In my area, as in many areas, there is a shortage of foster carers. One area that is particularly short of foster families is respite care for disabled children.

    My local authority is trying to enlist potantial foster carers to take in disabled children of all ages at weekends (usually one weekend in four per child, so potentially you could have four different children in a month). My friend's son was assessed as being in need of this service - he has multiple disabilities and this puts a great deal of strain on the family. One weekend with a foster family per month would give his parents some much needed respite, plus their younger daughter being the main focus of their attention (very difficult otherwise). Unfortunately, it didn't work out for my friend and they are back on the waiting list.

    If this is a possibility that you would consider, then you would have regular children to build up a relationship with. You would still have family life without foster children during the week, but your family would grow at weekends.

    Before you go ahead with any plans for fostering, how does the rest of your family feel? You have mentioned what you want and what you think is best, but not your husband's or children's views.
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