If you are considering fostering a child, you should fill in our initial enquiry form. You can also find out more about our fostering recruitment and assessment policy.
Fostering isn’t easy but is extremely satisfying. Helping vulnerable young people feel secure and good about themselves makes the experience worthwhile and rewarding.
We have answered some of the common questions below.
You could be a foster carer if:
- you are over 21 (there is no upper age limit)
- you have some experience of children and/or young people
- you are married, single or living with a partner of either gender
- you have a healthy lifestyle
- you, or your partner, are available to care for a child before and after school as well as transport children to and from school and family contact.
- you have time to attend daytime training and support groups, to meet with social workers and to be there during the school
- you are able to provide care for a child during holidays or when the child is off sick
- you have sufficient space to provide a bedroom for the child you foster, unless they are under the age of two
- everyone in your household wants to make it work
- If you smoke, you will not be allowed to care for a child under the age of five or a child who has any kind of respiratory problem.
Facts you should know:
- You will receive an allowance and relevant expenses for each child placed with you, and could receive a fee on top of this depending on your skills and experience;
- Each day in Essex, four to five children will be placed in foster care;
- The average age of a foster child is 11-12 years old
- Fostering can be for a few days, weeks, months or long term for years until a child becomes an adult
- We offer a range of services to help you look after the children in your care, such as a 24-hour support line and computers for children placed with you
- The vast majority of children return to their own homes within six months
- Legal responsibility for the child is shared with the local authority and the child's parents
- Training and out of hours support is available
- Foster carers receiving a fee can have a break of up to 28 days in any one year and still continue to receive their fee during this time
- You could receive a fee, plus expenses and allowances
If you want to help, please start by filling in our initial enquiry form. For more information you can also watch our Foster Carers in Essex video.