Enquiries about Fostering
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Fostering is caring for someone else's child in your family home whilst they cannot live with their own family. Fostering differs from adoption as the foster carers do not have Parental Responsibility for the child; this remains with their parents or is shared with the Local Authority.
Our foster carers are from many different backgrounds, though you must be at least 21 years old. What matters are your personal qualities and what these offer to a child or young person – patience, flexibility, understanding, self-awareness, fairness, determination, being keen to learn and appreciating each child's personality and needs.
All sorts of children of all ages (0-18 years of age) and from various cultural and social backgrounds need to be placed in foster care for many different reasons. This includes children with special needs such as those with a physical or learning disability and those with mental health and behavioural problems. Some have suffered abuse and neglect. Some have brothers and sisters. Others have committed criminal offences.
Children and young people of all ages need fostering for many different reasons and for different lengths of time. This can be done on a full time or part-time basis, ranging from one day, several months or even years.
Lancashire County Council are committed to paying all foster carers the Government's Recommended Minimum Allowance. Additionally we intend to pay some carers fee enhancements calculated on their experience and skill along with the service they provide. The payment structure consists of tiers with set criteria for each, all foster carers are eligible to progress through the payment structure. You will be provided with details of the payment structure as part of your enquiry.
Lancashire County Council provides continuous support and training throughout a foster care placement. Each child has their own social worker assigned to them throughout their time as a looked after child. Each foster carer has an identified supervising social worker from their local Fostering Team assigned to them.
All foster carers must be assessed and approved before being allowed to look after children. This is a legal requirement to ensure all the children are placed in a safe and caring family home. The process of assessment normally takes between four and six months.
During that time you will receive preparation training (Skills to Foster) and will be allocated an Assessing Social Worker who will work with you to gather evidence of the skills and experience that will help you when fostering. You will be asked to complete some simple exercises in your own time which will help the Assessing Social Worker in preparing your assessment report.
The assessment report is presented to our Fostering Panel which is made up of professionals and care experienced people. The recommendation of the panel helps our Agency Decision Maker to decide whether you are approved as foster carers.
We like to visit you and your partner (if you are in a relationship), at home and talk with you about what you can offer a child. We need to know that your home is suitable and that you have skills and qualities that will enable you to support the child. This is your opportunity to ask questions of us and explore any concerns you may have.
In Lancashire we are dedicated to the continuing professional development of our foster carers. We offer a comprehensive package of training opportunities, some of which can be accessed on line, which cover every aspect of the fostering role.
This is an arrangement whereby a child’s parent or relative asks other people to care for the child. Although, the carers are not approved foster carers the local authority is responsible for ensuring that a child who is privately fostered is visited regularly by a social worker to ensure that they are being well looked after.