The basics of fostering explained

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The basics of fostering explained

A brief reminder relating to basic considerations that need to be applied if you are actively thinking of fostering children or young people. Successful foster parents come from all walks of life. Do you think fostering might be for you? Certainly, if you have a real desire to be a huge part of a young person’s upbringing. Everyone has different life experiences: if you want to foster, you have to have a genuine commitment to wanting to provide a loving home – somewhere a child can feel they will always be safe and secure.

The different kinds of fostering

The first thing that you need to consider if you are serious about fostering, are the different kinds of placement types there are. Thought has to be given as to how a particular placement might work within the setting of your family. There are many options: mother and baby, babies, teenagers, sibling groups, children with complex needs or even asylum seeking children.

Depending on your wishes and suitability, there are other categories of placements: these might include emergency, respite, short terror indeed long term. Some foster parents if they have a long term placement may go on to adopt. Fostering agencies will have a very wide range of referrals – so the broader your approval is, the wider will be your choice. At Rainbow Fostering our foster carers are always approved to foster children between the ages of 0 – 18. This is to avoid the need for additional training later on, should a carer wish to keep a child in placement beyond the age of 16. Overall, the broader your approval is will mean you will have a greater choice of placement types.

Getting approved as a foster carer

Once you have applied, it usually takes around six months for you to become approved. Along the way you will be given basic training and support from a social worker to prepare you for Panel. They will help you with you with what is known as a ‘Form F’: this is a detailed look at your life, circumstances and general potential to become a foster carer. The Form F provides the basis for your panel interview, which is the last stage in the process on the way to becoming a foster carer. The interview is not daunting; there is plenty of support and it is always conducted in a friendly and relaxed manner. The Agency Decision Maker (ADM) has the final say with regard to your approval. If successful you will be ready to consider taking your first placement.

Once you are approved as a foster carer

The basic questions on fostering

Questions on fostering answered

This is when life can start to change significantly: some people make a decision to either work part, time or give up work altogether. That very first placement may seem daunting, however, there will be support at hand twenty four hours a day. The most important thing is to combine all the training and preparation with the life skills and experience you already have. This will mean that the first child you take will feel at home, wanted and able to fit into your family situation. Does all this sound too easy? Well, a lot of children will have come from disrupted, chaotic backgrounds. They may have witnessed things that adults would find upsetting. They may even have been abused. It sounds like hard work, but if you can demonstrate empathy and understanding – most of all that you really care, a child will usually respond. And this is where the real reward lies in fostering children: the knowledge that you have started to make a real difference to another human beings life; that you will be giving them the direction and support to make successful life choices. And you, as the foster carer, will have the support and training that you feel you need. As a foster carer you are never alone: you are part of a nationwide community of people doing some of the most important work that it is possible to do. 

For more information, visit:

Considering fostering children- or teenagers? Then explore ‘Rainbow Rewards’

Rainbow is a fostering agency that will currently pay a  bonus of £500. This means should you be in a position to refer someone to be a carer: you’ll receive this bonus once your referral has been approved (and the first placement has been accepted). Foster carers who are transferring to Rainbow may also benefit from a special bonus once they have been approved with us: this will be a payment made for foster carers who are already caring for youngsters on a long-term basis.

And the good news at the end of this particular rainbow…January has seen another crop of birthdays for some of our foster children. Happy Birthday to one and all!

More Fostering News – to keep you informed and up to date

There’s usually something of interest happening in the world of fostering. Make sure you catch up with our latest articles by visiting: You could also help spread awareness of the need for more foster carers by liking some of our tweets on Twitter.

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