Can I foster? Home Fostering in Warwickshire Can I foster? Just like the children and young people we look after, foster carers in Warwickshire come from all parts of the community. We need people from all walks of life so that we can find the best match for every child. We will consider you for fostering if you are: single, married or living with a partner from any ethnic background a family with or without children a person with a disability a couple of the same or different gender What matters most is that you have commitment and patience, alongside the care and skills to work with children and their parents. If you have any questions about your suitability to foster for Warwickshire not covered on this page, please contact us. What is the difference between adoption and fostering? Adoption is taking on the role of the parent for the child permanently/long-term and transfers all rights and responsibilities from the original parent or parents. Fostering is caring for children either short-term or long-term where the parents and local authority retain the rights and responsibilities for the child. I do not live in Warwickshire We are happy to accept enquiries from people who live close to the Warwickshire border, but you will need to be able to transport children to school and family time sessions within Warwickshire and attend meetings and training at offices and venues within Warwickshire. I live in a rented property If you live in a rented property we would need you to have: a secure tenancy a tenancy agreement which states that you have to be given a minimum of two months notice to leave the property by your landlord. I am employed, full or part-time Foster carers for Warwickshire can work but need to be flexible for the children in their care. Foster carers for school-aged children need to consider being available before and after school and during school holidays. Foster carers for pre-school children need to have a carer at home throughout the day. Foster carers also need to be flexible with working hours to attend meetings in relation to the child and care for a child if they are ill or out of school. If you feel you don’t have the availability to foster full time, maybe consider Flexible Fostering or Family Link foster care that offer respite and time limited fostering opportunities. Someone in my household has a criminal record We try to get a balanced picture of where people are now in their lives. Minor offences committed some time ago may not exclude you from fostering although serious offences including violence or offences against children will. Talk in confidence to a member of the fostering team if you have any concerns about this. All members of a household aged 18 and over have to have a Disclosure and Barring Service check and we will consider any offences as part of the assessment of the household’s suitability to foster. Someone in my household smokes We will not approve any household where any member of the household smokes or vapes inside the house. This includes the adult children of prospective foster carers and lodgers. Therefore if a member of your household smokes or vapes they would need to be willing to stop or smoke/vape outside. For children aged 0 to 5, we will not accept an application where any member of the household smokes. If you do smoke and would like support to stop smoking, you can find out more about the support services available across Warwickshire via the Quit 4 Good page. Will the child continue to go to their own school or attend a school within my community? Children placed permanently/long-term may transfer to a school within your community. Children placed short-term may continue to attend their regular school with their friends. Will I meet the child’s parents or other family members? Most children benefit from family time with their parents or other family members. The frequency and arrangements for supervision of this will vary. Family time can also take place by phone or letter. You will need to communicate with a child’s family and build a positive relationship with them whilst the child is in your care. What qualities do I need to be a foster carer? Foster carers have particular skills and abilities which help them give and maintain a good standard of care to the children they look after. You will need to be able to: build a child’s sense of worth and identity stick with a child through the bad times and the good promote a child’s health and education encourage a child to develop and keep up friendships understand the many different needs of children respect and accept a young person’s identity, sexuality, religion, culture, race, language and any special needs recognise that behaviour is a form of communication offer a therapeutic response to a range of behaviours encourage and support contact with a child’s parents and family as appropriate develop your own skills through preparation and training. Warwickshire foster carers have said they feel foster carers need to: be flexible be caring and kind be able to advocate for children and young people have good communication skills be able to have fun and enjoy spending time with children be understanding and non-judgemental be patient persevere be tolerant be compassionate be able to put in place clear boundaries Young people from Warwickshire’s Children in Care Council have said they feel foster carers need to be patient, loving, caring, understanding, tolerant, fun, fair, strict if they need to be, and non-judgemental of young people’s past or behaviour. Young people said that they want to feel part of a foster carer’s family and not made to feel different from foster carer’s own children. Can I cope emotionally? There will be times when you will be upset, perhaps when a child you develop a bond with moves on. Your fostering social worker and other foster carers will help to support you, but remember there will be plenty of times when fostering is fun and personally rewarding. You can also seek support from our in house psychology service. What effect will fostering have on my own family? Many of our fostering families find that their own children grow up to be kind and respectful young people and understand the experiences of those around them. It is important that you talk to any children living with you about how they feel about fostering and your wider network of family and friends. Ask how they might feel about sharing space in the house and possibly toys as well. Ask them how they might feel about sharing you and your time with other children. What about your wider family? Will they be around to help and be part of your fostering family? What is the fostering community like? We run a range of activities in Warwickshire to build a community of support for our carers. We hold annual foster carer conferences and a wellbeing day each year to focus on our carers as individuals. We also hold a celebration event to value achievements. Christmas and summer events are held for our fostering families, trips and outings throughout the year allow for our fostering families to meet and the children in our care to join together. We run a programme of support for children in fostering families and are keen for children to spend time with their peers. Coffee mornings and training run throughout the county and our foster carer networks such as via the treehouse programme provide opportunities for both formal and informal meetings.