How do you match and make placements?
It is important to the motivation, enjoyment and retention of our foster carers, that
all children they looked after are suitably matched to their family life.
Matching will be based on things like age, race, religion, culture, ability, disability, sex and sexuality, possible risks, and any special skills or training the carers have. In every case, we will match as closely as we possibly can.
If any children placed with you are from a different ethnicity or culture to your own, or a child has specific health needs, practical and emotional support, and training will be provided to ensure that everyone’s individual needs are met.
As one of our carers, you will be involved with the matching process for every child you look after. You will be given as much information as possible to help you decide if you are able to meet the child’s needs. The final decision about accepting a placement will reside completely with the you as the carer and we will respect your honesty if you do not feel that a child is suitable for what you have to offer.
Do you have reviews?
Every fostering household will have a review every 12 months. This is known as the Annual Foster Home Review and it will allow the carer and the agency to reflect on the previous 12 months and also plan for the year head.
Following this first review and every following third review, you will be presented back to Fostering Panel for their recommendations.
A carer can at any point give written notice if they wish to resign from their role. In this case, approval will be terminated 28 days after the receipt of the notice.
Do you offer ongoing training?
Our foster carers will be provided with a complete package of training that will help them to develop as individuals and professionals.
Ongoing courses are provided both pre and post approval to give our carers with the best understanding of the fostering role, the impact of early attachment on children, and how to respond to a range of emotional or behavioural issues.
Being a therapeutic foster carer will not mean becoming a therapist, but it will mean that you will be supported to feel confident in using a range of psychologically based parenting techniques that will help a child move towards reaching healthy developmental milestones.
Do you have insurance?
We a comprehensive insurance package in place which fully covers all agency activities.
This includes Personal and Public Liability, Employers Liability, Professional Indemnity and covers all of the work that we or our clinical team will do with you and the children in your home. When you are approved as carers, we will make
sure you have advice and guidance on how to make sure your own household and other insurances, such as car and holiday cover meet your needs in your new fostering role.
How do I know I will be treated equally?
Our service is committed to celebrating the diversity that exists in the communities around us.
As a result, we aim to uphold diversity in all areas of our service provision. Everyone within our agency, our employees, carers, children and young people are treated equally and are free to work safely, without discrimination or harassment of any kind. It is our aim to create a welcoming, “family” environment, where everyone is valued and respected.
As a service we will endeavour to recognise and build on your personal strengths and skills to help you achieve your full potential.
What customer service will I receive?
We are completely committed to providing you with efficient and courteous customer service at all times.
It is for this reason that:
When you telephone us…
We will answer your call in a timely fashion and aim to answer your query right away. If the person you are calling to speak to is unavailable, or the person you are speaking with cannot answer your query, we will take a full message and get back to you as soon as possible, this will be no more than one working day.
If a member of staff is away from the office, their telephone will be diverted to another member of staff, or out of hours to a generic voicemail service so that other staff can pick up and respond to your query.
The staff you speak to will be professional and polite at all times.
When you visit us…
If you are visiting our offices, you will always be greeted by a member of our reception staff, who will make sure that you are signed in. Punctuality is important to us and the member of staff you are visiting will be on time for your appointment. A member of staff will accompany you around our building.
There are ground floor facilities to accommodate people with disabilities as required.
When we visit you…
Any staff visiting you will arrive at the time agreed. If there is an issue with the arrival time, a member of staff will call ahead to inform
you in advance. All of our staff will carry a full identification card, which they will show to you on their first visit to you.
When you write to us…
If you chose to write a letter to us regarding any enquiries or fostering issues, we will aim to respond to you within 5 working days . If this is not possible, we will always call you to let you know that we have received your letter and provide you with information on how we are progressing your query.
Any letters we write to you will be clearly written, in an easy to understand way.
If there is anything you are unclear about within the content of any written correspondence, please contact us so that we can resolve your concerns.
When you email us…
When we receive an email from you, we will aim to respond within one working day. Our support email is checked daily so enquiries can be picked up as quickly as possible.
If you are emailing a specific member of staff who is out of the office for more than 24 hours, an appropriate “out of office” reply will be provided. This will offer you the details of another member of staff that can help you if your concern needs a more immediate response.
We are committed to ensuring that all information we receive is handled in line with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the General Data Protection regulations 2018.
What if I have a complaint?
Everyone we come into contact with has a right to receive a professional and quality service. If you feel this has not happened, you have a right to complain.It is our policy to make sure our complaints process is accessible, effective, fair and independent.
Our complaints process has three levels. The first step strives to resolve issues as quickly and informally as possible and we will work with you to agree an outcome which is satisfactory to everyone involved. In situations where this cannot happen,
a decision will be taken as to whether it progresses to stage 2, or stage 3 where we are happy to seek the support of an independent investigator who will seek to achieve a satisfactory solution for everyone involved.
All of our foster carers will be given a full copy of our complaints procedure.
Can I foster if I have a long-term health condition?
Yes, we welcome all applicants to foster for our service. As long as you are able to fully meet the needs of a child in your care, many health conditions should not prevent you from fostering. The application will carry out a full medical examination that will make a recommendation about your fitness and ability to care for children, this includes an assessment of your physical and psychological health. Any health condition that you have might mean that we need to match you more carefully with the children you look after.
Is there an age limit for fostering?
There is no upper age limit for fostering. As long as you are over 21 and are able to evidence that you are fit enough to care for the children, then your application will be considered. Throughout the assessment, younger applicants will need to evidence their maturity and specific experience that will enable them to cope with the responsibility of the fostering role.
Do I have to be a British citizen to foster?
No, you do not have to be a British Citizen to Foster, however, you do have to have the right to remain in the UK to foster. We welcome applicants from a range of nationalities, however, we will need to carry out statutory checks in order to evidence your right to remain within the UK.
Can I foster if I smoke?
Smoking will not necessarily prevent you from fostering, however it is a requirement that you do not smoke in your home or in your car. Having anyone who smokes within the household will also limit the age range of children you are able to foster.
Will a Police record stop me from fostering?
As an equal opportunities organisation, we will assess each potential foster carer on an individual basis. We will encourage you to disclose any convictions you have at the earliest stage possible so that we can advise you correctly. Every applicant to our service will have a full DBS check carried out, however early disclosure will be important.
What if I don’t get on with the children?
It is natural to worry that you will not get on with the children paced within your home. To help create the best match for you, there will be a full pre-placement planning process, which you will be included in. This will give you as much information as possible, and where appropriate, the opportunity to meet the child. This will help you and us, make the best decision about the right family for each individual who needs our care. Matching the right child with the right carers is one of the most important factors in ensuring a placement is successful, for you, your family and the child.
Can you still foster working full time?
This is something we would assess on a case by case basis. As our service is a therapeutic intervention, it will be important for you to be able to manage to meet the full needs of the child, as well as attend regular clinical appointment and training. Flexibility around the needs of the child will be a central part of your role. Some carers can find it difficult to balance the child’s needs with the demands of a full time job. However, some carers do successfully combine flexible or part- time working patterns with being a foster carer.
Can I apply to foster with The Family Psychology Fostering Service if I have been turned down by my Local Authority or another agency?
Yes, we welcome enquiries from anyone interested
in fostering. Each enquiry will be assessed on an individual basis. It is important that you let us know as early as possible about any prior applications so that we can fully understand the reasons behind their decisions. However, this does not mean that we will draw the same conclusions. We will always assess each application independently. If you have fostered for or applied to another agency, as part of the statutory checks, we will be required to contact them for a full reference and/or for their account of the reason for declining your application.
Will I get paid for looking after a child?
Yes, the amount you will receive is split into two components, the foster carer fee and the maintenance allowance. As The Family Psychology Fostering Service is a therapeutic intervention, all of our fees are at an enhanced rate. See Foster Carer Fees and Allowances Section.
Will I get paid if I have no placements?
No, as a foster carer you will be self-employed and will only be paid when you have a child or young person in your care. Once you are approved we will endeavour to ensure you have placements regularly. Having flexibility in your preferences for children’s ages and types of fostering you are open to providing will help to create better opportunities for matching you with the children we are asked to provide care for.
Will I have to pay extra tax if I receive money for fostering?
Foster carers in the UK are subject to special tax arrangements which means you will pay much lower levels of tax.
Do I need specific qualifications to foster?
No, you do not need a formal qualification to foster for us. As part of your assessment you will be provided with our bespoke Skills to Foster training, which will give you as much information as possible about the Fostering Services National Minimum Standards as well as provide you with a comprehensive overview of the therapeutic strategies you will be using in your fostering role. The assessment process will also help you to identify and build upon the skills you already have. When you are approved to foster, you will be supported to achieve the Training, Support, and Development Standards for Foster Care. There will also be several additional training programmes for you to attend that will ensure that you have all of the knowledge and skills you might need to carry out the role of a therapeutic foster carer.
Can I foster if I have pets?
Having pets does not prevent you from fostering, in fact, they can be a valuable therapeutic influence within a foster home. Every animal is different and your pets will be assessed as part of the process of becoming a foster carer. This will take into account factors such as their temperament, their behaviour and how they respond to children and regular visitors. As a pet owner, you also need to think about how you would feel and react if a child injures one of your pets. Although this does not happen often, it is a possibility.