Frequently Asked Questions
There are lots of things that need to be considered before becoming a foster carer.
Some questions and answers are listed below to help you understand more about what fostering in Halton is like.
If you have any further questions please contact a dedicated member of the Halton Fostering team.
What is it like being a foster carer?
We won’t pretend that being a foster carer is easy – it’s often a demanding and challenging role as you welcome children into your home at the times they need you most. But it’s also an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding thing to do. You really will make such a difference to each child you care for, whatever length of time they spend with you. You’ll provide safety and security at a time of worry and uncertainty for them. And don’t worry, we’ll be on hand to ensure that you receive all the training and support you need before and during your time as a foster carer.
Will I be eligible to be a foster carer?
We look for the widest range of people possible to become foster carers to match the wide range of children who need to be looked after in a safe and secure home. So long as you’re over 21 and don’t have any convictions for violence, alcohol or drug abuse or offences against children, there’s very little else that will rule you out. Of course, you will need to be fit and healthy too to cope with the demands of the role and you’ll need to be able to offer a child their own bedroom.
After that, your age, ethnicity, relationship and employment status are no barrier at all to becoming a foster carer.
Do I have to be over the age of 21?
To foster a child in Halton you will need to be aged 21 or over. We have people of all ages who foster children in the borough.
What if I work for Halton Borough Council?
If you work for Halton Borough Council you are still able to foster, each fostering case is assessed individually and your role will be discussed as part of the process.
What about my disability or health problems?
Halton Borough Council welcome enquiries if you or someone in your household has a disability or health problems and are considering fostering a child in Halton. As part of the fostering process you will undergo a check up with your own GP who will asses if you are “Fit to Foster”.
How long does the application process take?
The Halton Fostering Team aim to work in a timely manor and application time can depend on the individual situations of the applicants. Find out some more about the application process You Can Foster.
Are foster carers paid?
Yes – foster carers receive a weekly allowance. The amount you receive will depend on the age of the child you are looking after and your skills and experience and the allowances are generally tax free.
Will the child change school?
Usually we try and keep children in their own school to minimise the disruption to their lives and their education, part of your role would be to take the child to and from school. If you are caring for a child on a long term basis then usually a transfer to a local school would take place, if this was agreed by everyone involved and helped the particular circumstance.
Will I get help with equipment?
Yes, the Halton Fostering Service work with organisations to provide some necessary equipment like beds, bedding, baby equipment and storage for clothes and belongings. The kinds of equipment may vary depending on the type of placement.
How do I get started?
Get in touch! You can contact the Halton Fostering Team in lots of different ways if you are considering fostering;
Call our dedicated professionals 0800 195 3175
Arrange a Drop In Session 0800 195 3175
Send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Make an enquiry
Request an Information Pack
Come along to an Information Session
How can I prepare my own children/ family?
Becoming a foster carer will have an impact on your children and extended family so it will be useful to inform them of what changes they can expect and provide them with an explanation about your decision to foster. Take a look at some information below about children, extended family and adult children of prospective foster carers.
(The leaflets above were produced with funding from the Department for Education and a consortium of Barnardo’s, Blackpool Council, Blackburnwith Darwen Borough Council, Foster Care Associates, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, Tameside Metropolitan Borough; Council, Trafford Council, Warrington; Borough Council, Wirral Borough Councils)
What about my race and religion?
Halton Borough Council recruit foster carers from all races and religions. Children and young people under the care of the local authority are matched with foster families with similar cultures, ethnic backgrounds or religion where possible. Which helps to give children and young people stability and security.
Can I foster If I'm LGBT?
Yes, of course. Halton Borough Council look to recruit a huge range of Foster Carers from a variety of backgrounds, lifestyles and situations- this helps choose suitable homes for children and young people in our care.
What skills will I need?
You don’t need any particular experience or skills at this stage – the training we’ll provide will help you to develop the necessary knowledge and skills it takes to be a fantastic foster carer. However, we do look for people with what we call life skills, and during the assessment stage we’ll ask you to be open and honest with us about the sort of person you are and how you cope with certain situations. So, for example, we’ll be looking for people who can be patient and understanding during difficult times, who have a positive approach to life and who can show the commitment it takes to foster children who are going through a hard time themselves. Remember, we’ll be with you every step of the way to support you and to ensure you receive any on-going training you need to develop your fostering skills further.
What different types of foster care are there?
There are many different reasons why a child or children might be placed into foster care, and the amount of time they’ll spend with you depends on their own circumstances. In Emergency foster care, a child could be brought to you in the middle of the night and simply need to stay one or two nights with you until another home can be found. Short Term Fostering can mean that a child stays with you for a few months or even a few years, and you’ll need to support and care for them during this time of uncertainty. In Long Term Fostering you’ll care for the child or children until they reach adulthood, providing a safe and secure family home and helping the child to develop and mature. You can find out much more about the different types of fostering by coming along to one of our Information Sessions or by downloading the relevant pdfs from this site.
What about my pets?
A foster child needs to be in a safe welcoming environment, when considering fostering all pets need to demonstrate that they are not a threat to a child. Pet Assessments will be carried out as part of the process.
What if I smoke?
A non smoking environment is expected for all children in care. You will not be able to foster a child under the age of 5 if you or anyone in the household smokes- this includes smoking inside the car (which became illegal 1 October 2015).
Can I foster if I already have children?
Yes you can. A lot of foster carers in Halton already have their own children. You’ll need to devote a lot of time and energy to your foster child, potential foster carers situations will be individually considered.
Do I need qualifications?
There aren’t any specific requirements when applying to be a foster carer. You need particular skills and abilities along with time to care for children. You need to be committed, caring and enthusiastic- and know that you are not alone, Halton have a support network that can help you every step along the way with training and support sessions.
I don't drive. Can I still foster?
If you don’t drive or have access to a car then it is important to think about how you will get children to and from school, or to any meetings with birth families.
Can I foster if I work full time?
Most foster carers who work full time are short-break foster carers, meaning they look after a child or children at weekends only. If you want to do short term or long term fostering, you’ll need to consider your working hours and getting a child to and from school, as well as caring for them during school holidays. You’ll also need to be able to attend all the training sessions, as well as have the time to regularly meet with your family placement social worker.
Do I need to be in a relationship or married?
No! Applications are welcome from people who are single, living together, married, divorced or separated, straight or gay. If you’re single, it’s important that you have other support networks of family and/or friends in place. Each foster child needs as much stability as possible in their foster placement, so it’s important to consider your own long term plans.
What is the difference between fostering and adoption?
In the fostering role you are caring for the child under the direct supervision of the local authority. Adoption is a permanent, legal procedure, where a family provides a forever home for a child. There are different types of fostering click here to find out what they are. To learn more about fostering for adoption visit: Together4Adoption
What are the children and young people like?
In the same way that there’s ‘no typical foster carer’ there isn’t a typical description of a foster child or young person either. The background of the children and young people that come into care vary as do their needs. During your assessment your social worker will match your abilities to the child or young person you are placed as your ability to look after the child or young person is the main objective.
Can I choose who I care for?
Yes. During the assessment process children and young people who fit in with your family and skill-set will be established. During the assessment process Halton Borough Council will work with you to determine what your strengths and weaknesses might be and where to focus your efforts.
Can a room be shared?
In most cases, children you foster will need a room of their own. Age 0-2 can share a room with Foster Carers and if you foster siblings they may be able to share a room. Birth children and children you foster won’t be able to share a room.