I already foster. Can I transfer to GCC?
We are looking for foster carers who live in Gloucestershire. If you have fostered for another local authority or agency and you are moving to Gloucestershire, you can transfer to GCC. If you already foster in Gloucestershire, you can transfer to GCC and bring any children you foster with you. Take a look at the benefits of fostering with us.
Is there an age limit for fostering?
You need to be over 21 years old to apply to foster but there is no upper age limit. We would need to have a medical report from your doctor and you will need to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.
How long would a child stay with me?
This all depends on the type of fostering you do and the plan for the child. It can be anything from a few weeks as part of a short term arrangement to long term care. You and your fostering social worker decide which type of fostering is right for you.
Have all children needing foster care been abused or neglected?
No not necessarily although most children will be experiencing a period of uncertainty or may be going through a family crisis. Each child will act differently when they first go into foster care and foster carers need to be sensitive and understanding of the child’s needs.
Will the child have contact with their family?
This depends on the reason why the child is in foster care. The level of contact depends on the child’s circumstances and every case is different. Foster carers are expected to work very closely with the child’s family. With younger children the contact may be daily for a while. Your fostering social worker will discuss the level of contact before the child is placed with you.
I already have children of my own, can I still foster?
Yes, if your own children are over two years of age. Your experience of parenting will be an advantage and some children may benefit from being placed within a larger family. If you do have children the decision to foster will need to be made by all of you.
I'm single parent and don't currently have a partner, will this mean I can't foster?
No. We actively encourage applications from single people. Single parents often have the skills and abilities that we need.
I'm currently living with my partner, but we're not married, can we still foster a child?
Yes. It makes no difference whether or not you are married but you need to have been living together for two years.
I work full time, does this mean I can't foster?
No, although it depends on the type of fostering you wish to do. We would need a carer to be at home for pre-school age children, but for older children fostering can be combined with other employment, although a good support network is essential. You also need to have cover available for after school and holiday periods.
I'm unemployed, will fostering affect my benefits?
Fostering allowances shouldn’t affect your benefits. We have carers who claim benefits although you would be advised to check with your local benefits office.
I'm currently renting and don't own my own home, can I still foster?
Yes, as long as you have enough room and your home will provide a secure environment. However, you will need to get in touch with your landlord to check that they agree to this.
I'm disabled, what are the implications of this?
We welcome applications from disabled people. Part of the assessment process will be to look at your support network. We will also request an early medical report to assess your disability to ensure that it does not prevent you from caring for a child.
We are a religious family - will this affect my application to foster?
You can foster regardless of your religion or ethnicity and we will always endeavour to place children with foster families that meet their religious and cultural needs. However it is essential that you are able to work with the plan for the child regardless of your beliefs.
Will my ethnicity/cultural background have an impact on the ethnicity of children placed with me?
Foster carers would need to be sensitive to a child’s cultural, religious, physical and emotional needs and prepared to meet the needs of children from all backgrounds. Children need a foster home without undue delay and we would not leave children waiting if we have carers available.
I've been convicted of a crime, will this affect my application?
Just because you have a criminal record does not necessarily mean you won’t be able to foster a child – it depends on the nature and severity of the crime and how long ago it was committed. However, people with convictions for violent or sexual offences against children cannot foster. We would require DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) clearance before you can foster children.
What support or training will I be given?
What do foster carers get paid?
The amount paid to foster carers depends entirely on the skills you have to offer and the type of fostering you do. See the information on fees and allowances.
Do foster carers have to pay tax?
Foster carers work on a self-employed basis. Everyone (whether foster carers or not) gets a personal allowance of £11,000 per annum (2016/17) - an amount of income on which the Government takes no tax. In addition to the personal allowance, the Government provides qualifying care relief - a further tax free allowance for foster carers who look after a child in care. The qualifying amount is different for each foster carer, depending on how many children you have fostered, their ages, and how long you fostered them within the tax year. This will determine whether you need to pay any tax or national insurance on the income you earn from fostering. Additional weekly fees may be subject to tax and national insurance contributions.
Do I need to drive?
We do advise that the main carer has access to a car as you will need to attend meetings and transport children to various places as required, especially if you are fostering a young child.
How big should my spare room be?
All children over three years old must have their own bedroom. Bedrooms should be large enough to accommodate not only a bed but also sufficient storage for the child’s personal possessions. Siblings may be able to share a room but this depends on the room size (a child must have their own bed), age and sex of the children and is at the discretion of the child’s social worker.
We smoke does this mean we can't foster a child?
Being a smoker will not necessarily mean you can’t foster, although, due to the effects of passive smoking we would not place a child under five years old with you.
Can I smoke e cigarettes?
The Fostering Network considers the current research evidence provides no compelling reasons for restricting the use of e-cigarettes, therefore, foster carers should not be prevented from fostering or applying to foster because of their use of e-cigarettes. The Fostering Network advises that it is good practice not to use them in front of children and young people until more evidence is gained about the role modelling effect of this on the smoking behaviour of children.
Can I own a dog and still foster? What is the rule about pets in general?
Having pets does not prevent you from fostering; in fact they can be an asset to a foster family. Every animal is different and your pets will be assessed as part of the process of becoming a foster carer, taking into account factors such as their temperament and behaviour. As a pet owner, you also need to think about how you would feel and react if one of your pets was injured by a child.
I have a pond in the garden, can I still foster?
You can have a pond in your garden although we would assess the safety implications especially if we placed small children with you. We usually ask that ponds are covered over and recommend a fence is put round a large pond to avoid any accidents.
I have a hot tub/swimming pool. Is this OK?
You are allowed to have a hot tub or swimming pool but you would have to be mindful of the dangers to children and carefully check the manufacturers guidelines on health and safety.