Frequently Asked Questions
We want to ensure our prospective foster carers are as informed as possible along every step in the journey. Here, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions we hear when it comes to fostering with Fostering Hampshire Children.
Do I need a spare room?
Yes, this is an essential requirement of the fostering regulations. We believe that children who are fostered must have their own bedroom, as we think it is important that they have their own space. If you don’t have a spare room and you wish support children in care, please get in touch to discuss other ways you can support us.
Do I need previous care experience?
Yes, we are looking for foster carers who have care experience either as a parent or in a voluntary or professional capacity. Our team can suggest organisations across Hampshire if you need to gain experience.
Do I need to be able to drive?
No, but as a foster carer you will be expected to attend meetings, appointments and take children to and from school. Therefore, you will need to consider how you meet the travel requirements.
Can I foster if I work full or part time?
Yes, however fostering is a commitment and we do ask that you have the flexibility to support a child or young person during the working week.
Can I foster if I have my own children?
Yes, lots of our foster carers have their own birth children and many of our children benefit from being in a family environment. All members of your household will be considered during the assessment, and we will need to take into account the wishes and feelings of your child/ children to ensure it is right for them too. We will always carefully consider your children when looking at which children to place in your home.
Can I foster if someone in the household has a criminal record?
If you, or a member of your household, has had a criminal record it will not necessarily stop you from fostering. It depends on what the conviction was for and when the offence was committed, so please discuss this with us. We undertake a check with the police with all our prospective foster carers and all criminal records and cautions will be disclosed.
Can I foster if I’m a member of LGBTQ+ community?
Absolutely, we welcome all prospective foster carers and have a number of LGBTQ+ foster carers in Hampshire.
Can I foster if I’m single?
Absolutely – we welcome prospective foster carers from a variety of diverse family backgrounds and current marital status.
Can I foster if I have debt?
We will look at your financial situation during your journey to becoming a foster carer as we have to be certain that your household is financially stable.
Can I foster if I smoke?
If you wish to foster children under the ages of five, or a child of any age with health conditions or disabilities, you will need to show proof that you have stopped smoking for at least 12 months before we begin your assessment. This includes cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vapour cigarettes. Please see your GP for advice and guidance about giving up smoking.
How do I know if I have the right home to foster?
During your Introductory Visit we will talk to you about the health and safety assessment and complete an initial health and safety screening of your home where we are able to highlight any potential risks for you to consider at the start of your fostering journey. In the assessment stage two, your social worker will complete a Health and Safety assessment for your home to ensure it is safe and suitable for children.
Am I too old or young to foster?
We consider anyone over the age of 21 - there is no upper age limit. Each application is considered individually.
Can I foster if I have pets?
Yes, of course. We consider any pets you have as part of the assessment and would undertake any related specific assessments to your pet(s).
What Are The UK National Minimum Standards for Foster Care?
The fostering national minimum standards are set out by the UK Government. They provide important guidelines for foster services, local authorities and foster carers. Their main aim is to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children in foster care.
What information do you need from me and why?
We need to be sure anyone offering a home to Hampshire children is thoroughly assessed to make sure they are suitable for fostering. This means checking employment references, taking a full medical and making the necessary police checks. The entire journey takes an average of four to six months but we aim to do this as quickly as possible. For more information about the information we collect, please download our dedicated leaflet here.
What is a Prospective Foster Carer Assessment (Form F)?
The fostering assessment – also known as a Form F assessment – is a crucial piece of work to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children in our care. And every foster carer in the UK must complete an assessment by law to become approved.
For more information on the assessment process and the Prospective Foster Carer Assessment (Form F), please download our dedicated leaflet here.
How long will it take to become a foster carer?
The fostering journey typically takes around six months. For more information about the fostering journey please visit here.
How can I afford to foster/how much do I get paid?
All foster carers receive an allowance for each child they foster, this is to cover the day to day costs of caring for that child. The amount depends on the age of the child and is paid per day or per week depending how long the child is in the care of a foster family.
The basic allowance is to cover food, clothing, pocket money, a contribution towards housing costs such as household bills and other expenses associated with day-to-day living. Foster carers also receive set allowances to cover additional costs such as caring for a child over Christmas, in the holidays or another significant religious festival, the child’s birthday and when they attend their school prom. When attending meetings or training, foster carers can also claim travel and childcare expenses against limits set by Hampshire County Council. Please visit our Allowances webpage for more information on allowances and how much foster carers get paid.
Foster carers can also enter skills pathways in acknowledgement of their experience and support they provide to the children in their care and fostering service. Foster carers as a result are paid a skills fee, this is an acknowledgement of their time and skills and is not for covering the cost of supporting a child in their care. The amount provided is dependent on the skills level.
Do I have to pay tax and national insurance when I foster?
Foster carers are classed as self-employed and will need to complete a tax return each year. However, many will either pay very little or no tax at all on their fostering income thanks to qualifying care relief.
Whether you as a foster carers have to pay National Insurance will depend completely on your personal situation. If your taxable income is less than your qualifying care relief amount, then your profits are deemed as NULL from fostering and you do not have to pay National Insurance.
What is the difference between adoption and fostering?
There are a tremendous amount of differences in adoption and fostering – both in the journey in undertaking them and the relationship with the child upon approval. However, the main difference between foster and adopt is a legal one. An adoption order ends a child's legal relationship with their birth family, whereas looked after children in foster care remain the legal responsibility of the local authority and their birth parents/family.
What training is provided to support me?
Your development is important to us, which is why we offer an extensive range of training courses that will help you when caring for children and aid your personal development. Our trainers are friendly and experienced, recognising the skills and knowledge you already have. Please visit our training page here for more information.
Do I need to own my own home?
You don't need to own your own home to be considered as a foster carer. What is important is having a home environment that you expect to remain in for some time, especially for a child who has already moved placement several times. You need a stable home for a foster child with no rent arrears or risk of eviction. Your landlord will also need to be aware and agree to your fostering from your home.
Can I practice a religion and foster?
Absolutely – we have a wide variety of foster carers from a diverse background of religions and beliefs. As long as the child's needs are put first and you're willing to accept they may have different beliefs to you, your religion will not deter you from fostering.
My garden has a pond, hot tub, swimming pool is this ok?
Yes but we will need to check the pond and garden for any potential risks to a child. We consider any potential risks at your property part of the assessment and would undertake any related specific assessments to your garden as part of this. It may be that we require the water to be fenced of or securely covered.
How can I meet or talk to current foster carers?
We have a wide variety of ways you can talk or meet current foster carers.
We host a diverse programme of events virtually or in-person that you can sign up for here. Alternatively, you can contact us via the ‘Speak With Us’ button above and we can arrange a bespoke conversation with one of our dedicated foster carers.
Why foster with a local authority?
Most of the children who need a caring home have had difficult early life experiences, such as abuse or neglect. They need a safe and loving home where they can flourish and learn to trust again. Hampshire County Council has an Ofsted Outstanding rating, reflecting all the work that takes place to help children grow. We need more foster carers to provide homes for Hampshire children; from babies through to teenagers, asylum seekers, sibling groups and children with additional needs or disabilities. We recognise that our foster carers look after the most vulnerable children in our community. In undertaking such a wonderful commitment, we also recognise the amazing positive impact they are making to foster children, the Hampshire county and ultimately themselves as individuals.
What happens after initial enquiry?
After the initial enquiry you’ll then receive a welcome call answering any questions you may have and providing full details of next steps in the journey.
We will then visit you at virtually or in-person at your home and discuss the role of a foster carer, answer any questions, explain the process to becoming a foster carer in greater detail and learn more about you. We will also undertake a health and safety screening. For more information about the fostering journey please visit here.
Can I transfer from another fostering agency/local authority?
We are always interested in hearing from skilled and experienced foster carers. And thanks to our skilled recruitment and assessment team, the journey for current foster carers to transfer to Fostering Hampshire Children could not be easier.
To transfer to us you will need to have a spare room for an additional placement(s) or Hampshire County Council placement(s) with you currently.
For more information on how to transfer please visit here.