People come to us with all sorts of backgrounds and life experiences. Some people are already working in child care or adult care and have lots of work experience and qualifications. Some applicants do not have this experience at all. In this case, we find out what people feel that they can do and arrange training in these skills during the fostering assessment process where you can meet some of our carers and observe what they do. When people are registered as carers, they receive full training and ongoing support to meet the specific needs and requirements of the child they are looking after. None of our Foster Carers are expected to look after a child they are not prepared and trained for. Everyone gets lots of information about each child well in advance. This is all part of our matching process before the child moves in.
Please do not worry about being in a same-sex relationship. We have many children placed in same-sex households, this is not an issue for us. What is important is the stability of your relationship, that your partner is as equally committed to fostering and that you can both deal with the needs of the fostered child as well as maintaining a good relationship with each other.
Having a disability does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to look after a child in care. We recognise that children in care need good role models and that carers with disabilities will have a unique empathy through shared experiences of disability. During your assessment, we will ask from a medical assessment from your GP; this is independently reviewed by our Medical Advisor who will make a recommendation on your ability to foster. As part of our strong matching processes, we will strive to match you to children with appropriate needs according to your skills and environment.
Due to guidance from coramBAAF on fostering households, children with disabilities should not be placed with smoking families. A child with disabilities may be placed with you only if the period you have quitted smoking for is a minimum of 12 months (this is due to research on relapse rates which show that only after 12 months that most people will be permanent non-smokers).
Guidance is similar for vaping and e-cigarettes, and is only permissible if their use is to aid with quitting smoking and the plan is to quit before being matched with a child. If other members of the household or regular visitors use e-cigarettes/vaping devices, they should do so outside and only when foster children are not present.
Depending on your circumstances, it can take anything from 6 to 12 months to become approved. If you have a large family, it takes longer as there are more people to interview. A carer transfer from another agency can take approximately 4 months.
Dogs are all different, they may be cute and lovely but attack the postman, or big and bouncy but are gentle with children. All carers who have dogs complete a "Dog Questionnaire" themselves, addressing the dog's behaviour. We also have an independent report completed by your Vet who is asked to consider the dog living with vulnerable children.
We are occasionally asked to place babies who have high medical needs. They will often have difficulties such as gastrostomies, nasal-gastro feeding or brain shunts. Yes, they are cute and loveable, but the reality is that carers can expect to have waking nights whilst the children are experiencing health crises or hospital admissions. Usually, our carers who are couples will need to develop different sleeping patterns to each other. This usually settles as they become more confident with the child's particular health needs - it is a big ask, but it is very rewarding and the children really benefit from being brought up in families.
Yes, you can still foster. We just need to have a reference from your landlord who can confirm the stability of your tenancy (how long you can stay at the property and that you have paid your rent promptly).
You do not need to have any qualifications at all to become a Foster Carer. However - if you have relevent Qualifications (NVQ or health care) when you join us, this is a bonus as you will be higher up the carer payment grade when you start to foster with us! All our Foster Carers are expected to complete the Training, Support and Development (TSD) standards qualification within their first year with us. All carers attend monthly training sessions and are then asked to complete the NVQ Level 3 in Foster Care.
We strive to ensure that our Foster Carers have a good working relationship with their Support Social Workers. You will have regular contact with them and other support staff as well as meeting at the Carer Support Groups. All our staff have regular supervision where relationship issues can be discussed with their Manager. If at any time you are not happy with the support you recieve you can speak to the Fostering Manager to address difficulties as soon as they arise.
Most of our Foster Placements become long term and some of our carers have asked to carry on looking after the young person when they become 18. This is usually fine, but we will need to discuss the plans with the young person and their Social Worker. If the young person remains, you will be assessed as an "Adult Carer". There will be different support and payment arrangements, but they can remain with you.
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Credo Care was established in 2000 as the UK's first independent fostering agency specialising in the care of children with disabilities, complex medical needs and learning difficulties.
Our goals are to raise the standards of disability care for children, reduce the financial burden of long-term residential and hospice care on local authorities and to ensure that becoming a foster parent is a positive and rewarding experience for all of our carers.
We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people.
Head office: 12 High Street, Lydd, Romney Marsh, Kent TN29 9AJ