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More information about fostering

Frequently asked questions

Have you ever thought about fostering and making a difference to children?  You can be married, single, heterosexual, gay or lesbian, of any ethnicity, disabled, a homeowner or tenant, working or unemployed.  If you enjoy the company of children and are patient, caring, open minded and committed, then fostering could be for you.  If you're interested in learning more about fostering, please read on.

Middlesbrough Council looks after children and young people who cannot live with their own families. There can be many different reasons for this; it could be due to a temporary crisis or illness, or it could be because abuse has taken place. We believe that the best type of care for the children we are looking after is a family placement, so we need more foster carers.

As a foster carer, you will be caring for someone else's child in your home. You will be working as part of a team, sharing the task of caring for the child with his or her parent(s) and with us. The child may stay for a few days, a few weeks or longer.

The children we care for are from a diverse background in terms of their talents, skills, and needs. We need foster carers to reflect this diversity and welcome people from all walks of life.

However, you must comply with the following requirements:

  • You must be over 21
  • If you smoke you can only care for children aged five and over
  • If you are in a significant relationship and planning to foster together, you should have been together for at least 3 years
  • You must be physically and emotionally fit to care for children. This will be determined by a medical check and assessment by the Fostering Service
  • You must not pose a risk to children. This will be determined by the Fostering Service assessment and a DBS check
  • You must have the capacity to offer a child a bedroom of their own within your home
  • You must be committed to receiving training and support to enable you to meet the demands of fostering

Children need to feel safe, secure and stable to thrive both physically and emotionally. You will help them by being patient, caring, empathetic and supportive. Children need to feel valued and cherished, and we expect our foster carers to make a child feel part of their family.

We must make sure that children are safe. This means that we will ask you to undertake a DBS check, and you will also be asked for personal references. If you have a criminal record of offences against children, you will not be able to become a foster carer.

You must be able to offer a child a bedroom of their own within your home unless that child is a baby. Babies may share a foster carer’s bedroom initially.

No, we are happy to consider people who live outside of Middlesbrough but you must live within a reasonable distance of the town. Many children in foster care will want to keep in touch with their families and friends, and may continue to attend a school in Middlesbrough. This will be easier if you don’t live too far away.

Middlesbrough Council’s Fostering Service uses a banded payments scheme for foster carers. This means that all foster carers receive a basic allowance which covers the cost of looking after the child, with additional payments being made for Christmas, birthdays, holidays and clothing. 
The basic allowance varies according to the age of the child. The rates payable are:

Age 0 to 4

£137.18 per week

Age 5 to 10

£156.26 per week

Age 11 to 15

£194.53 per week

Age 16 and over

£236.64 per week

Newly-approved carers will receive the basic allowance during their first year. After that time they can progress to Band A, providing they have achieved the Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Carers. Band A carers will receive the basic allowance plus £50 extra per week.

As carers develop experience and skills, they can progress to Band B which is the basic allowance plus £100 extra per week. At a later stage, after gaining more skills and experience, foster carers can progress to Band C, which consists of the basic allowance plus £200 extra per week.

You can contact us by phone, email or letter and we will send you an information pack giving more details of what fostering involves. Once you’ve read this, you can request a visit from social workers from the Fostering Team to discuss your interest further. There’s no obligation at this stage, but we find that a visit is the best way to answer people's questions in more detail. We can also arrange for you to speak to some experienced foster carers about how it really is.

If you wish to continue after the initial visit, you will have to complete an application form and your formal assessment will begin. This will include us carrying out police checks and contacting your references. Part of the preparation will involve group meetings with other applicants. Social workers from the Fostering Team will visit you at home and write a report, with your help, for Middlesbrough's Family Placement Panel, recommending whether or not you are suitable to become a foster carer. You can look at a summary of the whole process by downloading our step by step guide.

Please contact us for a copy of our fostering information pack. You can also look at the websites listed in the External Links section, or read more about Middlesbrough Council’s Fostering Service.

Information on safeguarding

Information on safeguarding can be found through Middlesbrough Safeguarding Children Board.

Related pages

Adoption and Fostering Academy

Family Rights Group

The Fostering Network

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