Frequently asked questions

What is a foster parent?

A foster parent is someone that offers children and young people a safe and caring home when they are unable to live with their birth family.

Why should I foster?

Foster carers choose to foster for a variety of reasons. Some want to help other children and young people; some want to offer parental skills after older children have flown the nest; and others just want to support the local community. No matter your reason, as long as you are caring, you could be a foster carer.

You can apply to become a foster carer here.

How do I foster?

You begin your fostering journey by applying to become a foster carer.

You then go through an assessment where we decide if you’re eligible to foster, what level of foster care you should enter at, and what type of fostering you would suit you best.

After this process is complete you go to a fostering panel, you are approved as a foster carer, and you can then have a child come to live with you.

How long does it take to become a foster carer?

We aim to complete your assessment within 16 weeks from the time that we receive your formal application, after attending the Skills to Foster course. The process is much shorter and five weeks from application if you are transferring to us as an already approved foster carer.

What age will the children be?

We are responsible for looking after children from birth to eighteen years old. The age of the children you care for will depend on your own skills, experience and preference.

Will I be paid?

You will get an allowance for caring for a child and a fee for you. This is because we recognise that you will need financial support to provide appropriate care and appreciate the positive impacts that foster care has on a child’s life.

You might also participate in further learning and development training as part of our high quality training offer to develop your skills in therapeutic parenting and other specialist care giving skill and be more prepared for different circumstances. We offer incentives for those who engage in these opportunities.

Children are sometimes removed from their family to protect them from abuse or neglect. Occasionally parents require care for their children because of illness, family breakdown or behavioural difficulties.

Because we know that most children do better in families than in children's homes, we've put together a great support package for foster carers, so that you can give children the stable home that they need, fully supported by us and a network of other foster carers.

You have to be at least 21 to apply to become a foster carer and there is no upper age limit. A reasonable level of maturity and life experience is welcomed.

You don't need any qualifications or fostering experience. It does help to have some experience of working with or caring for children. We only ask that you:

  • provide a safe, caring home and have the time, patience and commitment to give to a child.
  • understand the needs of a child who has been separated from their family.
  • work as part of a team.
  • ask for support and use it.
  • be prepared to learn.

Yes, if you can offer a stable home and care for a child, then you do not need to be in a relationship.

Yes, if you can offer a stable home and care for a child, you do not need to be married.

Yes, you can foster, you do not need to have had children of your own. Although it does help to have some experience of working with or caring for children.

Yes, of course, we treat everyone equally and currently have children being cared for by both gay and lesbian foster carers.

It does not matter what your religion is and this should not affect your application to foster. Children should be placed with foster families that can meet their needs, including religious needs. However, you would need to consider how you would feel about discussing issues such as alternative religious beliefs or sexuality with a child, ensuring that you abide by the fostering service's policies.

Yes, you can foster. All potential foster carers have a full medical examination to make sure that they can provide the care our children need.

Past mental illness is not a bar to becoming a foster carer, in fact, there is no diagnosis that can automatically prevent you fostering. However, you would need to discuss this with any fostering service that you apply to. A medical report is always sought as part of the assessment process and you would also need to consider the impact of fostering's emotional side on your mental health.

Yes, whether you are employed or unemployed we need to know that you're financially secure and can provide a stable home. If you work, we will need to make sure that your work commitments are flexible, and you could meet the needs of the child.

Yes, if you currently claim welfare benefits you are likely to be able to continue to claim while fostering. Foster Carers are approved rather than employed by their fostering service and this status has a particular effect on means-tested benefits. In the main, fostering payments when a child is placed with a foster carer are disregarded when calculating welfare benefits. Alternatively, foster carers may be able to claim Working Tax Credit because fostering is regarded as 'work' by the HMRC when they have a child in placement.

Yes, it doesn’t matter whether you own or rent your house, you can still apply to foster.

Yes. Often, we’re responsible for a group of siblings and where we can, we like to place these children with their brothers and sisters, so it’s great if you can offer the space and time to care for more than one child and keep them together.

Most children will need a bedroom of their own, so you do need a spare bedroom to be able to foster for Telford & Wrekin Council.

Yes, it would not prevent you from being a foster carer if you were unable to drive.

You can smoke and foster but to safeguard a child's health, we won't place a child under the age of 5 within a household where somebody smokes. If you decide to give up smoking you must have given up for a period of at least 6 months prior to applying to become a foster carer. If you smoke e-cigarettes Telford & Wrekin Council will not see this as a reason to preclude you as a potential foster carer, purely on this basis. Your use of e-cigarettes will be assessed in the initial visit, as well as during the full prospective fostering assessment.

Yes, generally having a dog does not mean you cannot apply to be a foster carer. However, any pet would form part of your assessment.

There are some criminal offences that would prevent you from becoming a foster carer. All offences are looked at and the circumstances of the offence are taken into account when considering your application.

Apply or get in touch.