Frequently asked questions about Fostering
Our foster carers come from a range of backgrounds and include people who are; single, married, co-habiting, divorced, gay, lesbian and heterosexual and they are from different religions, a variety of ethnic groups, differing levels of income and some own their homes whilst others rent. To be considered as a foster carer you will however need to meet the following criteria;
- Be over the age of 21
- Have a furnished spare room that is not used by anybody else
- Must be committed to training and development
- Must be able to work in partnership with the team involved in caring for the child/young person
No, we only place a child in a home where he or she will have their own bedroom (unless they are a young sibling group and then they may be able to share) which is not used by anybody else and is big enough to fit a single bed, chest of drawers and a single wardrobe and ideally a desk/table. It’s a legal requirement and it means they’ll have their own space and privacy.
Previous criminal convictions would not necessarily prevent you from fostering. It depends upon the nature of the conviction and when it occurred. It is standard for us to complete an enhanced DBS check at an early stage in the assessment process so we would expect you to discuss any previous or current convictions with us as soon as possible. We will then decide whether or how it might affect your application to become a foster carer. This information would remain confidential at all times.
As well as the DBS check with the disclosure and barring service (previously known as CRB), we complete checks with Local Authority and the NSPCC. We obtain 3 personal references which will include a reference from someone in your extended family, adult children of the family who live away from home, employers, ex -partners (where applicable) We would also carry out a medical and financial assessment and health and safety check on your home.
Yes we will need to carry out checks on your partner and would expect you both to participate in the assessment process and training. We will also need to carry out checks on all adult members of the household. Even if you are the main carer, anyone sharing your home will have some involvement in and influence on the fostering task.
You can state a preference of the ages and gender of the children and young people you would prefer to foster it is standard – foster procedure however to approve our foster carers to foster children and young people from age of 0-18 and we identify a preference within that range that we have assessed you are most suited to; we encourage you to be open and willing to explore all ages and – both genders, preferring – to focus on carefully matching our foster carers with our children and young people based on their individual needs and the skills and experiences of our foster carers and their household composition.
If you have been identified as a suitable match to one of our children and young people, our Placement Officers will discuss their details with you and you can decide whether you want to go ahead with a placement. We will provide you with as much information about them and their background as possible, including any difficult behaviour and how to manage it.
We require at least one foster carer within a household to be at home on a full time basis. In some cases it may still be possible to continue working but fostering must be your primary focus as the expectation is that you will be available to attend training, support groups, children and young people’s meetings therefore this has to be considered on an individual basis..
You will be supported by your supervising social worker who meets with you monthly and is in regular contact with you by phone and email. You will have access to our out of hours on call service which is staffed by our supervising social workers who are supported by a Registered Manager. You will also be invited to our foster care support group meetings and will have membership to the Fostering Network and the New Family Social (if applicable).
You will be supported by your supervising social worker who meets with you monthly and is in regular contact with you by phone and email.
You will have access to our out of hours on call service which is staffed by our supervising social workers who are supported by a Registered Manager. You will also be invited to our foster care support group meetings and will have membership to the Fostering Network and the New Family Social (if applicable)
There’s no set timeframe from enquiry to your first placement. The length of the assessment process is usually around 4 months, sometimes this increases to 6 months. Once you have been approved our Placement Officers will be informed immediately and will start to work on finding you a suitable placement.
Independent Fostering Agencies (IFA’s) are privately owned companies that provide a fostering service to Local Authorities. Local authorities recruit foster carers to care for children and young people for whom they hold legal responsibility. However, if they do not have an appropriate placement with one of their own foster carers, they will ask independent fostering agencies if they can offer a suitable foster home with one of their foster carers instead. As an IFA, we are registered and inspected by Ofsted
This can be the case and because of the high level of need that these children and young people present, independent fostering agencies provide their foster carers with a very high level of support including out of hours support all year round. Agencies also pay their foster carers a professional fee as well as generous fostering allowance to cover their costs; they also provide regular training and specialist support to enable carers to meet the needs of the foster children and young people they look after.
Five Rivers is an Independent Fostering Agency that operates as a social enterprise. You’re part of a national organisation that works across Crisis Intervention, Residential Child Care, Assessment and Therapy and Education Services. Working across these services we have access to an evidence based practice model which in turn provides a higher-level of stability with clinical oversight.
Five Rivers is highly experienced in managing the transfer process of existing foster carers. We know from experience that you will be anxious about changing; concerned you may be jumping from the frying pan to the fire, daunted by having to go through the process again, or you may be concerned about how it might affect the placement of the children in your care.
We believe that if you have been willing to devote your time to caring for young people in your home, then we should ensure that you receive the very best support from us. This starts from day one, with us working as quickly as possible to transfer you to our agency so you can continue to do the job you love. All Fostering Agencies subscribe to the Fostering Networks Transfer Protocol which states: The transfer of carers protocol is based on the assumption that carers have the right to freedom of movement between fostering services; the principle that, in all circumstances, the welfare of any child must be paramount.