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Fostering

Change a Life.  Foster for Redbridge

 

Can you change a young person’s life? Over 200 children in Redbridge are unable to stay at home with their families. Children are our priority and we believe that every young person deserves to be cared for, loved and supported. That’s where you come in!

Our foster parents provide a safe, stable and nurturing environment for our most vulnerable babies, children and young people that they can call home. Together, we will ensure that the young people of Redbridge can reach their full potential.

It is the most rewarding and life changing role but can also be very challenging and we will be there for you throughout your journey to becoming a foster carer, answering any questions you have along the way.

If you are interested in finding out more, then please contact us using the form below or book onto our next event to find out more information and ask any questions that you have.


Want to find out more?

Leave your details and we’ll give you a call and go from there. We can’t wait to speak to you.


Get in touch

Book a place on our Virtual Coffee Morning


Why Foster for Redbridge?

When a child in Redbridge needs to spend some time in foster care then Redbridge Council’s foster carers are the first people to be contacted. This means that as a Redbridge foster carer you receive priority for placements over any other agency or local authority. There is very close communication between Redbridge fostering supervising social workers and the children’s social workers for a truly holistic approach for our children in care.


Support and Training

  • we are committed to providing our foster carers with excellent support and high levels of training.  Currently we offer our carers a number of training courses each year across a variety of subjects to support foster carers practice and in doing so, aid the outcomes for our children in care

  • as you are approved to foster, you will be given a Training & Development Plan for completion, for which training and support will be provided to assist you. This will require completion in your first year of fostering and is a mandatory requirement for all foster carers in the UK

  • we offer our carers a variety of support throughout their fostering career, including a dedicated Supervising Social Worker who can be contacted whenever you need additional support. There will also be professional and nurturing monthly supervision from your allocated Supervising Social Worker

  • you will have 24 hour access to support through the Supervising Social Workers or from the Emergency Duty Team outside of office hours

  • we offer new carers a fostering buddy for their first year of approval

  • monthly support groups for peer support from other foster carers

  • we are always talking to our current foster carers and are open to ideas about redesigning our support and training services to ensure that they are what foster carers want


Benefits

Whilst money is not everything, we are committed to ensuring that our foster carers are paid enough to cover the costs involved in looking after a child.  Benefits for Redbridge foster carers include:

  • you could receive up to £457 per child, per week. The exact amount paid to each foster carer is calculated on an individual basis according to the age and needs of the children

  • a training bonus scheme depending on the level of training completed following on from your first year as a foster carer up to £200 per year

  • 60% council tax discount for Redbridge residents

  • additional allowances for Christmas/ Festival, Birthday and Holiday

  • uniform allowance

  • bedroom furniture provided for the child/ children being looked after

  • a £400 thank you paid if you refer a friend or family member and they are successfully approved as a foster carer

  • additional support package available for disabled children to ensure their needs are fully met

 

Information Sessions and Coffee Mornings

A mans hands which are cupped together with a childs hands resting on the mans hands, holding a heart shaped biscuit

Due to the ongoing pandemic, we will not be able to offer face to face information sessions.  However, we will be offering virtual sessions.

We hold information sessions and information coffee mornings throughout the year for people interested in fostering. These give an overview of fostering, different types of placements, what fostering for Redbridge is like and gives you a chance to speak with a fostering social worker and a foster carer in an informal setting and ask any questions that you may have.

For more information on our upcoming events and to book a place to attend, please click on the link below or give the fostering team a call or an email.

Date Time Link to Book a Place

 

Tuesday 3 November 2020

 

6pm to 7pm Book Now!

 

Friday 20 November 2020

 

10am to 11am Book Now!

 

Tuesday 1 December 2020

 

6pm to 7pm  

 

Friday 18 December 2020

 

10am to 11am  

 

Tuesday 5 January 2021

 

6pm to 7pm  

 

Friday 22 January 2021

 

10am to 11am  

 

Tuesday 2 February 2021

 

6pm to 7pm  

 

Friday 12 February 2021

 

10am to 11am  

 

Tuesday 2 March 2021

 

6pm to 7pm  

 

Female foster carer kissing the cheek of a baby who is in their care

 

Children come into foster care from many different situations and with different needs. There are many different roles provided by foster carers and you can find out what each one involves below. You may wish to be approved for several of the below and can discuss this throughout your assessment:

Short Term Fostering

Most of the time children are placed with carers with the intention to rehabilitate them with their families as soon as possible. A child placed in short term care may be as a result of a parent’s illness or an inability to cope at the time due to difficulties and pressures they are currently experiencing. 

Social workers will be working with the family to try and assist the family to ensure that the family can be together again. You as a foster parent will play a key role in this as you will provide contact, giving the child the opportunity to see their family on a regular basis. Contact may be at your home or at a venue agreed by the child’s social worker. A short term placement can be anything up to 2 years.

Long Term Fostering

If it has been decided that it is not appropriate for a child/ children to be returned to their family, a longer term placement is required. 

In most cases, the child/children will still have arranged contact with their family however the frequency and arrangements will be determined by the child’s social worker. 

A permanent home for a fostered child will give them stability and make them feel that they are part of a family. This will give them the opportunity they need to grow and to develop to achieve their full potential. The expectation is that the child becomes a member of your family beyond their childhood years.

Fostering Teenagers

Teenage years can be a difficult time for all young people as they try to become more independent and make sense of their world. For young people who have gone through particularly distressing and traumatic events during their childhood, it can be a very unsettling time. This is a critical stage in a young person’s life and they need appropriate support and guidance. Without this support and guidance, there is a risk that they may display behaviour and enter into anti-social lifestyles that could seriously affect their future.

We are looking for foster parents who can be tolerant, patient and flexible but who can also set clear and consistent boundaries, so young people know where they stand and what is expected of them. You need to ‘actively’ listen, and help the young person make sense of their world. You will let them know they’ve got someone who they can talk to who really cares about them.

Foster parents for teenagers need particular skills to carry out what can be a very varied and challenging job, and receive a higher level of payment in return.

Fostering Disabled Children

Disability affects children, some are very mild and others are more severe. Disabled children ranging from babies to teenagers may be placed with foster parents. 

Sometimes their parents may feel unable to care for them and these children often need to be placed in long-term foster care. For other families with disabled children, there might be a need for the child to be placed regularly with foster parents for a few days each week, or each month, to help support the family, enabling them to take a break.

Supporting both the family of a disabled child as well as the child can be hugely rewarding and is often referred to as respite foster care.

Fostering Sibling Groups

Leaving your family to live with a foster parent is a daunting enough experience for any child or young person, but when it also means that you have to be separated from your brothers and sisters, then the experience is all the more upsetting and unsettling. This is why we are always keen to actively recruit foster parents who can help us to keep brothers and sisters together in 1 foster family.

Caring for sibling groups requires flexible, energetic, organised carers with good support from family and friends and of course plenty of space at home.

Parent and Baby Fostering

Sometimes concerns are identified about a parent’s ability to provide ‘good enough’ care for their baby. In such circumstances, foster parents may be asked to provide a foster placement for both the parent and the baby.

These can be challenging, but rewarding placements where foster parents support a young person to care for their baby, by teaching them how to parent and care safely for their child in your own home.

Emergency Fostering

Some carers offer emergency care, which may mean a child is placed with them out of office hours by the Emergency Duty Team, occasionally in the middle of the night. Emergency foster care is most frequently used in a crisis situation. Plans will be made regarding the child’s situation on the next working day.

Respite Fostering

A respite foster placement can offer support to a family at crisis point or to a foster carer who needs to have a break. Respite foster placements might be for a weekend or a week in the holidays but can last up to 21 days. If you are only able to offer limited periods of time to fostering, then being a respite foster carer could be a good option.

Private Fostering

Private fostering is when a child or young person aged 16 or under (or 18 if they are disabled) is cared for by an adult who is not immediate family for more than 28 days.

A private foster carer may be:

  • a friend of the family
  • the parent of a friend of the child
  • someone previously unknown to the child's family who is willing to and makes arrangement to privately foster a child


If someone else is looking after your child or you are looking after someone else's child you could be privately fostering and you must tell us so the child can be registered with us as being privately fostered. Private foster carers and children receive support from Redbridge Children's Services.

Get in touch

  • if you’re free now, why not give us a call on 0208 708 6068
  • email us on fostering@redbridge.gov.uk 
  • leave your details on the form at the top of the page and we’ll give you a call and go from there.  Alternatively,

 Book a place on our Virtual Coffee Morning

 

It is great that you are interested in becoming a foster carer!

If you feel ready to start an application, then the steps below will show you what to expect. Please see the stages below detailing the stages in the process.

If you are not yet sure if you would like to apply but have questions, then please contact us or book onto our next event to find out more information and ask any questions that you have.

Tree image made up of childrens hands with process steps included throughout the middle of the tree

Step 1: Enquiry

If you feel that you are the right person to transform a child’s life and want to know more, give us a call on 0208 708 6068 between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. We will then have a brief conversation with you on the phone to find out more about you and your circumstances and whether you might be a suitable foster carer.

Step 2: Home Visit

After your telephone enquiry, you’ve decided you want to hear more and one of our team will come to visit you at home. We will have a brief look around to check that your home is suitable for fostering and talk to you in more detail about your desire to foster. We will also speak to anyone you live with, as it is important that your whole household agree that fostering is a good idea.

Step 3: Skills to Foster Training

Before we begin the formal assessment process, we want to make sure that we arm you with enough information for you to make sure that this is the right path for you, so you will be invited to a 3 day compulsory training course. This course covers the role of a foster carer; the importance of understanding a child and where they come from; working with birth families and professionals; keeping children safe and helping children to move on.

Following this course, a joint decision will be made by the trainers and you to see if fostering is right for you. If you go ahead, you will move on to the formal assessment process.

Step 4: The Assessment

The fostering assessment usually takes six months to complete, from when you begin your application to when you are approved as a foster carer. We appreciate that this is a long time, but it is very important that we are as thorough as possible when making decisions about who is suitable to look after our most vulnerable children.

The fostering assessment is when an Assessing Social Worker will visit you and will ask many detailed questions about your life from birth to date. Many applicants find this a challenging but rewarding experience.

Your assessment will also involve us taking a range of checks on you including Police checks to checks with your children’s school, amongst others. We will also make contact with any ex-partners you have been in significant relationships with. We understand not all relationships end amicably so please do not be concerned but we do need to speak to these people. As you will understand, all of these checks ensure that our children are in the safest of hands and we have a duty to ensure you are the right people to care for our children.

Step 5: The Fostering Panel

Once the assessment is finished, your assessment report will be presented to Redbridge’s Fostering and Adoption Panel. The fostering panel consists of a team of experts (usually between 7 and 10 people). Once they have read the assessment report, they will meet with you and your assessing social worker.

It is a welcoming environment and the Panel members will ask you some questions about your life, your motivation to foster and how you’re going to make a real difference to our children. Your assessor will be by your side the whole time and their role in panel is to answer some of the questions and to explain their views from what they’ve written.

The Panel Chairperson will give you a recommendation on the day, which is their collective recommendation. This recommendation is then shared with the Agency Decision Maker who will make the final decision on your suitability to foster.

Many people come out of the panel feeling energised and eager to begin their journey as a foster carer.

Step 6: Approval to become a Foster Carer

Once the Agency Decision Maker has made their decision you will be notified in writing and if it is a positive outcome you will be asked to sign a Foster Carer Agreement. This will detail our basic expectations of you, so do read this prior to signing it. As soon as this has been signed and returned to us, you are an approved Foster Carer – congratulations!

You will be introduced to your own Supervising Social Worker who will be an experienced Fostering Social Worker and you will start to form a professional relationship with them. They will be your go-to throughout your fostering career, and will support you with the role, providing guidance at times of need and ensuring your practice meets our high standards too.

It may then be a month, a week, or a day until you will take your first child or children. You will be given a referral to read all of the information that we know about the children at the time. Do remember we can only tell you what we have found out – we don’t always know everything at the time of placement.


Step 7: Changing a Child’s Life

Before you know it, your first child or children will be on their way to you! So get your warm welcome ready and start preparing to change a child’s life.

If you have read the process and are keen to become a foster care, please contact us or join us for an informal information session where you can find out more and ask any questions you may have:


Get in touch

  • if you’re free now, why not give us a call on 0208 708 6068
  • email us on fostering@redbridge.gov.uk 
  • leave your details on the form at the top of the page and we’ll give you a call and go from there.  Alternatively,

 Book a place on our Virtual Coffee Morning

 

Tracy and Wayne

Tracy, 52 and husband Wayne, 51, foster for Redbridge Council. They have been fostering for 3 years and during that time have received 5 placements. Some have been very short, others longer. They also do respite care:

“We decided to foster because we wanted to make a difference in children's and young people's lives. Every child matters and we wanted to become part of the solution for children and young people who for whatever reason were and are unable to live at home with their parents.

The thing I love most about fostering is seeing the progress children and young people make during the time they are with us. From surviving to thriving.

The best experience to date has been seeing a child in our care go from not being able to read any words to, over a relatively short space of time, being able to read words and books and now enjoy reading. Seeing this child progress academically due to having the head space and nurture to learn has been amazing and a delight to watch.

We feel very supported by Redbridge through our social worker and also the children's social worker and the wider fostering team. The training courses available are varied and relevant and the service are very open to recommendations for courses to support our roles as foster carers.

We had no idea what fostering would be like but we pushed the door to enquire and, as they say, the rest is history as momentum picked up and we went through the assessment process to become foster carers.

There is nothing that can really prepare you for the first child that comes into your home, but you soon learn, make adjustments and navigate your way. It really is a rewarding job, tough at times, but that is all outweighed by the difference you see in a child over time.

I wish I was told what fun fostering is and the community you feel when meeting with other foster carers for support, friendship and advice. You really aren't on your own.”

Sarah and Kazim

Sarah, 47, and her husband Kazim, 52, have been changing children’s lives for the past 12 years whilst fostering for Redbridge Council. In that time, they have had 3 long term placements; 12 years, 6 years and the most recent child has been with the family for nearly two months.

“I love watching the difference I can make to a child. I love watching them succeed in life and to know I have made a difference to their life”.

Sarah’s longest foster child who received A*AA in her recent A Levels and is about to embark on a medical degree at university agrees and states that “Without all your love and support, I’d never be where I am today”.

Sarah says “I chose to foster as I always wanted to give children less fortunate than me a great life.

The support I have got from the fostering team has been nothing but amazing. I am lucky to have a great Supervising Social Worker who always supports me. Training has always been available and I do a lot online.

Fostering is full time. You have to be strong. You don’t always know much about the child. Initiative is key, treat them like family, set boundaries and most importantly love and praise the children.”

Savita

Savita, 64, is a single carer and has been fostering with Redbridge for a year and a half.

"After retiring from the corporate world, I decided to embark on a new journey…  to give something back to the community. I was determined to become a foster carer, an advocate for children and work closely with the local council.  To be able to support children and young persons who needed help and guidance in order for them to achieve their potential, as well as provide a safe and warm environment.

Helping to support a child with global learning disabilities, was amazingly rewarding for both of us. I could empathise with the young person and we had a friendly, warm relationship with lots of humour from both sides!

Redbridge provide excellent training which has really helped throughout the last year or so; gaining and sharing ideas, discussions and pointers on how to deal with situations when they arise. Support has been good, initially quite baffling working with all the team supporting the child, but once you get into a routine, it’s part and parcel of the job. "

A young person who has respite care with Savita regularly says: “This is my holiday home.  I have the best time ever and can’t wait to be back”.  

Like all of our Redbridge foster carers, you too could quite literally change a child’s life.

Get in touch

  • if you’re free now, why not give us a call on 0208 708 6068
  • email us on fostering@redbridge.gov.uk 
  • leave your details on the form at the top of the page and we’ll give you a call and go from there.  Alternatively,

 Book a place on our Virtual Coffee Morning

 

If you are already a foster carer with a provider other than Redbridge Council, you can transfer to us. We could ‘fast track,’ your application if you are already an approved foster carer.

When a child in Redbridge needs to spend some time in foster care then Redbridge Council’s foster carers are the first people to be contacted. This means that as a Redbridge foster carer you receive priority for placements over any other agency or local authority.  There is very close communication between fostering supervising social workers and the children’s social workers for a truly holistic approach for our children in care.

Redbridge Council do not make any profit from fostering, unlike private fostering agencies that run as a business to maximise profit for shareholders. We are dedicated to achieving the best care for our children and by fostering with your local authority, you will ensure that all of our financial resources go directly into supporting Redbridge children in our community.

You do not need to inform your fostering provider that you have approached us for an initial discussion around transferring. There is nothing wrong with gaining as much information as possible before making a firm decision when you can then notify your existing agency and begin the process in transferring to Redbridge.

All of our foster carers receive continued training and development from their own dedicated supervising social worker and a competitive financial reward as well as a monthly support group with other foster carers in Redbridge.

We are currently also offering a £400 incentive scheme to Redbridge carers who refer a friend or family member once they are successfully approved as a foster carer.

We will accept you with children placed by other authorities for the length of their placement. All transfers will follow the Fostering Network Transfer protocol


Get in touch

  • if you’re free now, why not give us a call on 0208 708 6068
  • or email us on fostering@redbridge.gov.uk
  • leave your details on the form at the top of the page and we’ll give you a call and go from there

 

Young child with Downs Syndrome standing next to and holding the hand of her foster carer

Find out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about foster caring.

 

What do foster carers do?

Foster carers look after children in their care on a day-to-day basis and meet their every need.  Foster carers also come into contact with and work alongside other people who play an important part in the life of a child. They play a vital role in helping the child/ children in their care to maintain contact with the child’s family. Foster carers also ensure that they meet with various professionals involved in the child’s safety and wellbeing including social workers, teachers, doctors, health visitors and occasionally members of the legal profession.

Foster carers work as part of a team and help is always available to support you with these important areas.

What qualities would I need?

It may sound silly, but foster carers will need to like children and keep liking them despite what may happen. Foster carers need to be loving, patient, understanding, tolerant, resilient, flexible, open-minded, energetic, have a sense of humour and be prepared to stick with it.

We recognise this list can be demanding, so we offer regular training and support groups to aid your role.

Can I foster and still work?

In an ideal world, it would be fantastic if one carer in the household were available at all times and not work. We understand, however, that this is not always possible. If your job is flexible and can work around the child/ children to ensure that all of their needs are met, including maintaining contact with their family members and attending appointments and meetings then you could be considered to foster. This will be discussed further during the assessment process.

There are also options of being on call for respite foster care or emergency foster care which could be considered as alternative arrangements for those wishing to foster where work is not as flexible.

Please click here to see the different types of foster care available.

How long does it take to become a foster carer?

Every situation is different, but on average from the initial home visit to approval at panel, the length of time is usually 6 months. This may seem like a long time but we need to make sure that our foster carers have the skills and support they need to make a difference. During this time we will do all we can to help you understand what’s involved and give you the best possible support.

What age do you have to be to become a foster carer?

For most foster carers it is important they have had some life experience. The minimum age to become a foster carer is 21. We will consider each application on its own merits. 

Do I need a spare room to be a foster carer?

You would need to have a spare bedroom to make sure the child you foster has the privacy and space they need. The only exception is if you are approved to care for very young babies who could share the foster carer's bedroom in their own bed until they reach 2 years old.

What if I haven’t got children myself?

We need different carers for different children. Sometimes not having other children in the placement will benefit the foster child.

Do I need to be married to become a foster carer?

No, you do not need to be married or living with someone. However, you might want to give some thought about the support network you have. Who could you turn to for practical support?

Will my sexuality affect me becoming a foster carer?

Not at all! Our aim is to provide children with the best possible life chances and that means offering the opportunity to foster from diverse backgrounds. If you can support, love and care for a foster child then we would love to hear from you.

I'm disabled, can I still become a foster carer?

Absolutely! If you can support, love and care for a foster child then we would love to hear from you.

What if I don’t live in a house?

It does not matter if you live in a house or flat as long as you have the facilities you need to look after a child or young person. We like to make sure a child or young person has their own bedroom wherever possible. Children and young people need a safe and caring environment to grow up in, and teenagers in particular need their own space. However, babies up to the age of two can stay in your room in their own bed. If you are renting, we need permission from the landlord to give permission for the property to be used for fostering purposes.

What if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record does not mean you cannot become a foster carer. If you have a past or current conviction, you must discuss it with the social worker who visits you, before you decide to go ahead with your full assessment.

Have all the children needing foster care been abused or neglected?

No, not necessarily. However, most children will be experiencing a period of uncertainty or may be going through a family crisis. Moving into a strange house may be upsetting and worrying for some, and each child will have been affected by separation and loss. Foster parents need to be sensitive and understanding to the child’s needs. 

Get in touch

  • if you’re free now, why not give us a call on 0208 708 6068
  • email us on fostering@redbridge.gov.uk 
  • leave your details on the form at the top of the page and we’ll give you a call and go from there.  Alternatively,

 Book a place on our Virtual Coffee Morning

 

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