TELL ME MORE ABOUT FOSTERING
Fostering is looking after a child or young person aged 0 – 21 in your own home for which you will receive an allowance. A child aged 3 years and above would need a room of their own and you would need to be at home full time. However, there are different types of fostering with varying requirements alongside the regular mainstream service so you can find a type of fostering that suits you and your family.
Respite foster care is a short term placement overnight or up to few weeks and provides care for a young person who is already living with a foster family. These may be emergency placements or to provide a planned break for the child or young person. The Short Breaks scheme offers children with disabilities an overnight weekend stay once a month giving the family a chance to recharge their batteries. These are both a good option for those who want to help but are unsure if they can commit full time.
The Supportive Lodgings scheme is good too for those who may wish to continue working as the placement is for a young adult aged 16-21. You will provide them with their own room and support with everyday skills to help with their transition into adulthood and the journey on to independent living.
“I became a foster carer because I wanted to work and make a difference, fostering has allowed me to do both but with the advantage of being at home for my own children.”
- Derya, foster carer
Additionally, specialist fostering schemes that require full time commitment and experience in childcare, may suit those who have already worked with young people professionally. Parent and Child fostering where the foster carer offers support and help to a new parent and their baby or Specialist Teenage fostering where the young person presents challenging behaviour would both suit those with prior experience.
There are many reasons a young person may need fostering and not all children in care have behaviour problems! Children of all ages, cultures and backgrounds come into care in Islington. It may be due to neglect in the family home from drug and alcohol abuse or parental mental health problems. Some children may enter foster care for a short time due to family illness.
All foster children are in the care of their local authority. Fostering directly with a local authority usually means that everything you and the child need is local to your home making life easier for everyone. Being with a local authority means there should be no long school runs and less traveling long distances to contact or placement meetings. The young people you care for will all be from Islington and the north London area.
Islington foster carers receive generous financial allowances for their role in looking after the young person as well as an allowance for the young person to cover all their needs. Extra allowances are also given for birthdays and religious festivals to help the young person celebrate. Foster carers take the young person with them on a main holiday each year and an allowance is paid to help with the cost. Foster carers living in Islington do not pay council tax.
“Fostering has brought us closer together as a family as well has making my own children mature and grow into caring teenagers. They have also gained valid life experiences that I don’t think they would have been able to gain in any other way.”
- Derya, foster carer
Fostering is increasingly seen as a career and there are many opportunities to build on your existing skills. Islington offers a wide range of free in-house training to develop and enhance your expertise and help you in the role.
As part of the process to become a foster carer you will attend the three day Skills to Foster training and work with a social worker to complete an assessment that will also include simple checks and a medical. This assessment considers how you will look after a child or young person but is not a judgement about you as a person. You will work together with the social worker to look at your past and reflect on your experiences. It may seem daunting but it is also a way to help you and your family prepare for becoming a foster carer. The assessment process should take 6 months.
Once approved Islington has great support in place including a phone line that has a member of the team on the other end 24 hours a day, 7 days a week if you have a question. You will have your own social worker to help and support you as well as support groups with other Islington foster carers. There is also support from the Islington foster carers association run by foster carers for foster carers.