About fostering

Children and young people of all ages need the care and support of foster carers.

Foster carers provide care, stability and support to help children and young people grow and develop in a positive environment.

Foster carers often work alongside social workers to improve the relationship between parents and their children through regular and positive contact.

Some of these children and young people will return home, some will move on to a new permanent family and some will leave care to live independently in the community.

In particular foster carers have a responsibility to:

  • take part in implementing the child's care plan, including specific tasks such as maintaining contact with parents and others who are important to the child
  • promote the healthy growth and development of the child, with particular emphasis on health and educational achievement
  • ensure children being looked after are encouraged to develop a positive understanding of  their origins, religion and culture
  • assist and support parents and other people who are significant in the child's life
  • enable children and young people to move on in a positive manner
  • ensure that children are kept safe from harm and abuse and support them to get help if needed
  • promote the secure attachment of children to adults by providing safe and effective care
  • act as an advocate for each child

Fostered children need to be given care, love, stability and the chance to understand what has happened to them.

They need help to understand the plans made for them so that they can look forward to the future with some confidence.

All of them need reassurance and consistent routines to help them feel safe. Most don’t want new parents, they just need to be with adults who care for them and can help them feel wanted and secure.

Sometimes older children can be very angry at parents and they may need a lot of support to rebuild their relationship and to re-establish regular contact.

The level of contact children have with their family is often determined by the Children’s Hearing and may have to be supervised by social work staff.

In these circumstances foster carers are expected to support the child to manage the contact with their parent and protect them from unplanned or unsupervised contact.

Many young people have significant emotional and behavioural difficulties as a result of experiences they have had in their lives.

For some, the problems are made worse by the use of drugs or alcohol which can lead them into risky and vulnerable situations.

Some of these young people find it difficult to build and maintain positive, trusting relationships with adults.

They may have difficult and challenging behaviour or find it hard to show affection, stick to house rules, or to do well in school.

These young people need carers who are able to commit to them and manage their challenging behaviour.

By providing the child with clear boundaries, consistent support and guidance and a sense that they are wanted and cared for, the carers will gradually help the child to feel safe and secure.

We need families from all walks of life. We need both single people and heterosexual and same sex couples, families with children and without.

To become a foster carer you must be at least 18 years old, be in reasonably good health and be medically fit.

If you drink alcohol, we need to know that you drink moderately and responsibly.

You cannot be a foster carer if you use illegal drugs or have a record of offences against children. You must also declare if you have any firearms or hold a Firearms Certificate.

We don't accept applications from people who keep dangerous pets such as rottweilers or pit bull terriers. We may need to seek further advice if you own a pet that we think might pose a risk to children.

If you are pregnant or have recently had a child, we will ask you to wait until the child is at least 12 months old. We also ask that applicants undergoing fertility treatment have completed this before the application is taken up.

We do not place children under the age of two with carers who smoke.

We accept applications from single people and from couples who are married or have been living together for over two years.

We would generally ask people to wait for a time before making an application if they recently entered a new relationship, experienced the break-up of a relationship or lost a loved one.

If you want to be a full-time foster carer we expect that you to be available full-time, as the child or young person may become ill, or be excluded from school. If you work it would be your responsibility to provide alternative child care at these times. Carers should also be able to attend all necessary meetings relating to the child.

If you are applying as a couple you need to be aware that fostering is very much a commitment for both of you. It is important that you both attend the preparation training and are actively involved in the assessment process.

Once accepted as a carer there are ongoing  training and support groups. If possible, both partners should attend these.

Any children you are fostering must have their own room.

We do not set precise household standards for carers but we do expect carer’s homes to be safe, reasonably clean and  to meet basic health and safety standards.

You must have a phone and access to a computer.

You need to have your own transport or have access to public transport to be able to travel to attend meetings, to help the child participate in activities and, where appropriate, maintain links in their own home area.

How much you get paid will be determined by your carer approval level and by the number of children you have been approved to look after.

Carers are paid pro rata. Many carers who work offer both full time and respite placements to children and young people.

The total payment is calculated by combining a fostering allowance - based on a nationally agreed rate - and a carer's allowance.

Carers allowance

The amount of the carer’s allowance is determined by the level of the carer’s approval and by the number of children they have been approved for.

  core fee 1 child 2 children 3 children
carer level 1 £7540 £12,040 £16,540 £21,040
carer level 2 £10,700 £15,200 £19,700 £24,200
carer level 3 £17,440 £19,690 £21,940  


Payments to new carers will start from the date of their first placement.

Fostering age allowance

A fostering allowance is paid for each child that you are caring for. The level of allowance varies with the child's age.

Age of child 2018-19 weekly rates
Per week
Clothing (20%) 
Per week
Pocket money £1 per year
Per week
Remaining allowance (age dependent)
Per week
0-4 £147.18 £29.44 £1- 4 £116.74 - £113.74
5-10 £167.65 £33.53 £5 - 10 £129.12 - £124.12
11-15 £208.71 £41.74 £11 - 15 £155.97 - £151.97


£50.78 £16 - 18 £187.12 - £185.12

For more details on fees fill out an enquiry form and we'll get in touch.