Fostering a child is probably one of the most altruistic actions one can take. It involves opening up both your heart and home to a child in need, who might then leave you one day to either be permanently adopted elsewhere, or simply move out of the family home.
Am I eligible?
You need to be at least 21 years old, and either be a UK resident or have indefinite leave to remain. You are expected to be able to take care of a child often on a full-time basis, but this does not mean that you are not able to work. This will depend on the child’s circumstances and which adoption agency you want to work with.
You do not need to own your own home, but you will usually need a spare bedroom. There are also other assessment checks to make sure that you would be able to care for a child. You will not however be discriminated against based on any characteristic protected by the Equality Act 2010 such as race, gender, martial status or sexual orientation.
They are able to ask questions such as:
- Where you live
- Do you have any pets (and whether you are going to have any)
- Your general health
- Who else is living with you, including any other children, and about any other children (even if they do not live with you)
- References from people who know you
- Your personality and interests
- Your beliefs, and whether you’d be willing to care from a child from a different ethinc background and/or religious belief
- Whether you have ever cared for any children previously
While the assessment process may seem daunting, the purpose is to ensure that not only will the child be growing up in the best possible environment, but also that you are ready to parent a child. Foster parents are not expected to be alone, but often care as part of a team, including the local authority, schools, health professional and the child’s birth family.
You will be expected to attend meetings about the welfare of the child and keep records about the child.
- Apply through either the local council of fostering agency (you may only register with one)
- You will be asked to go on a preparation course on fostering
- You, and every other adult in the house, will need to obtain enhances Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate
- A social worker will assess you and your family
- You can then state any preferences about the child you’ll care for, such as age or gender. You cannot choose a specific child and there are no ‘trial period’ for foster children.
- The fostering service will review your application and you will need to meet with a panel who will make their recommendation.
- A decision will be reached.
For further information on this topic or on any other legal area, please contact John Szepietowski or Kay Stewart at Audley Chaucer Solicitors on 01372 303444 or email email@example.com or visit our Linkedin page