Here are just a few of the questions we get asked most often by those interested in fostering with us.
Can I foster?
Yes. ISP require you be aged 21 and over, and be a British citizen (or have indefinite leave to remain). You’ll also need to have a spare room that the child or young person can have to themselves.
In most cases, we ask that one foster carer in a family performs the role full-time, and has no other employment. However, depending on the type of placement, there may be some opportunities for you to work in a flexible or part-time capacity. You can discuss this with your Fostering Advisor.
We have foster carers of all ages. Some of our carers continue to foster well into their seventies. You do need a certain level of fitness and energy, to perform daily activities like picking a child up from school or playing games. But providing you can do these, age is no barrier to being an excellent foster carer.
Absolutely. We work with a wide range of brilliant male and female foster carers who are single.
The Assessment Process
We’ll need to do disclosure and barring service checks (what used to be called CRB checks) on everyone in the house who is aged 16 and over. We’ll also do a local residency check for the last ten years, and, with your permission, checks on your ex-partners. In terms of references, you’ll need to supply us with at least three from personal referees, and if you have any children living with you, we’ll need educational references for them too. A medical report from your GP, and a full safety check on your home (including your pets) will also be performed. Finally, we’ll need proof that you’re a British citizen (or have permanent leave to remain).
The assessment stage can vary in length but typically it takes up to six months to become an approved carer. Once you have expressed an interest in fostering, you will receive between 8-10 visits from one of our Social Workers. Upon completion of your assessment you will be invited to sit before our Fostering Panel, along with your social worker.
They vary widely from just a couple of weeks, to many years. You can find out more about the different types of placement on our About Fostering page.
Although many children will have experienced difficult circumstances, in many respects they are much like any other young people. Sometimes they can exhibit challenging behaviours, but we will give you the training, support, and in-depth knowledge of a child’s background and circumstances that will give you the resources you need to deal with them, and develop a relationship of trust.
Fostering allowances and tax issues
We understand that, just like new parents planning to have a child, finances are an important factor when you are considering welcoming a young person into your home. We’ve designed our foster care allowance to give you sufficient funding to not only provide for the child in your care, but also give them the little treats and extras that will make them feel more at home. The allowance rates vary depending on the type of placement, but for a single child, you will receive between £21,000 and £27,000 per annum. (Bear in mind when working out your financial position that some placements are short, and you’ll only be paid for the time that children are placed with you.)
You’ll need to register as self-employed with the HMRC and pay national insurance contributions and any tax you are liable for direct to them.
As well as your £10,000 tax-free allowance, you’ll also get tax relief of between £200 and £250 for every week a child is in your care. This means that in many cases, you’ll pay little or no tax. To find out more, visit the HMRC web site.