Do you want to make a difference to the children and young people of Redbridge? We’re looking for committed and caring individuals to become foster carers.
Get in touch
Or if you're thinking about fostering and would like us to contact you, please leave your details below:
What is fostering?
Fostering is a way of offering a child or young person a home while their own parents are unable to look after them. Whatever the reasons, we work with families to resolve issues and help children to return home as soon as possible.
Where possible, we help children and young people to remain living with relatives or family friends. We also try our best to keep siblings together.
When children are unable to return home to their families, we arrange stable, long term foster placements. Foster parents provide a caring, safe home for a child or young person until the time is right for them to return home or move to a permanent family.
There is no doubt that fostering a child or young person is a difficult task, but at the same time, it is very rewarding.
By becoming a foster carer you will make a big difference to a child or young person’s life.
Who we are looking for
We need local people from all backgrounds, cultures and ethnic groups who are willing to take on this role. There is no doubt that fostering a child or young person is a difficult task, but at the same time, it is very rewarding.
We urgently need more foster carers to care for children and siblings aged 11 years and over. If you know you can provide a safe, secure and loving family home, we would love to hear from you.
Short term/task focused 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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
The expectation is that the child becomes a member of your family beyond their childhood years.
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 children with disabilities
Disability affects children, some are very mild and others are more severe. Children with disabilities 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 of children with disabilities 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.
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.
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 a close relative 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.
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 is 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.
Is there an age limit?
As long as you have the necessary skills, you can become a foster parent.
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 until they reach 12 to 18 months.
Will my sexuality stop me from becoming a foster parent?
No. Our aim is to provide children with the best possible life chances and that means offering the opportunity to foster from diverse backgrounds. There are many qualities that people bring to parenting and we are interested in your ability to provide a loving, stable home to a child.
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.
How much could I get paid?
We offer personal and professional development, support, and an excellent financial package to help foster parents. To foster, you can be single, married, living together, working, unemployed or retired. Our fostering allowances go up to £457.00 per week. We also offer a 60% reduction on Council tax.
Fostering information events
Come along to an information session on becoming a foster carer.
Station Road Centre, Station Road, Barkingside, IG6 1NB:
Tuesday 11 December 2018, 6pm to 8pm - with presentation starting at 6.15pm
Tuesday 8 January 2019, 6pm to 8pm - with presentation starting at 6.15pm
Tuesday 19 February 2019, 6pm to 8pm - with presentation starting at 6.15pm
Tuesday 12 March 2019, 6pm to 8pm - with presentation starting at 6.15pm