What is fostering?

Fostering is caring for a child in your own home when they are unable to live with their birth family. If you choose to become a foster carer, you can improve a child's life by offering them support, guidance and care, in a safe and nurturing environment.

Foster carers stay in contact with the birth families of the children placed with them, with a view to help children return to their birth family where possible.

All of our foster carers are supported by a team of professionals from social services, education and health care.

We can offer you fantastic training, generous payments and great benefits.

You can be single or in a long-term relationship, with or without children and you do not need to own your own home, but you must have a spare room!

Types of fostering

When you apply to be a foster carer, you can tell us which types of foster care appeal to you. We'll discuss the options with you to make sure the type of fostering you choose is right for you and your family.

Parent and child foster care involves placing a parent, who is experiencing difficulties with their baby or young child, in a foster home together with their child. It is also sometimes known as 'mother and baby fostering', although it can be for mothers and/or fathers.

This placement is often an alternative to a mother/father baby unit and is usually the result of a court referral. A baby's social worker may decide on this placement if the parent is not coping well and needs extra help but doesn't have an extended family. The parent might not necessarily be a young person.

The role

The foster carer helps and encourages the parent to develop their skills and occasionally provides parental care.

As a foster carer you would observe how the parent looks after the child and you will need to keep a record of their progress.

This can be a very complex and challenging type of care and requires a number of skills and qualities, including:

  • assertiveness
  • discretion
  • confidence
  • sensitivity
  • 24-hour commitment.

Carers will ideally have past foster care experience or have worked with children and their families, perhaps in a social services, emergency services, teaching or youth services setting.

Reward and support

Our new offer to foster carers for parents and children includes:

  • enhanced rates of pay up to £1077.47 per week
  • two weeks holiday payment at the end of each 12 week arrangement or more. This is In addition to the 2 weeks all foster carers who 'Foster for Kent' receive
  • eight hours day care per week
  • fostering social worker support including regular supervision, access to out of hours support, specialist training, attendance at support groups
  • all the benefits of being a foster carer with us (Foster Talk, Kent Rewards, Kent Foster Care Association etc).

Hub family foster care is where one foster carer family is linked with up to 3 children living with foster carers within their community.

Hub family carers will offer extra support and be a key part of the child and foster families' support network to improve the stability of children's foster homes.

This is an interesting and new type of fostering with an excellent reward package.

The scheme is designed for those already experienced in foster care.

The role

A hub family foster carer will provide regular planned or emergency physical and emotional support, to up to 3 fostering families via overnight respite and day care.

The support would likely be with 1 child at a time.

Hub family foster carers would also be expected to:

  • attend hub family support meetings and planned activities
  • provide emergency telephone support between 8am and 10:30am, and between 3pm and 8pm each day
  • build relationships with the foster children and their foster families.

Reward and support

Each hub family foster carer will receive:

  • the highest reward and maintenance payment of £520.10 per week to cover the support provided, including skills level payment where applicable
  • one planned day a week and one planned weekend a month where they're not available to the foster carers and identified children, to enable the hub family carer to attend training, support groups and personal appointments
  • two weeks planned annual leave per year (in addition to the above)
  • fostering social worker support from a dedicated team including regular supervision, access to out of hours support, specialist training and attendance at support groups
  • all the benefits of being a foster carer with us (such as Foster Talk, Kent Rewards, Kent Foster Care Association).

We need foster carers to provide emergency placements for children and young people aged up to 18 years old who need an immediate placement, and where a direct placement cannot be made.

Placements would be a maximum of 10 working days.

The role

You would be expected to:

  • be on a rota of 6 weeks on and 2 weeks off
  • attend emergency meetings
  • transport the child to school
  • provide appropriate care and support for the child in what are usually traumatic circumstances
  • produce an assessment or profile of the child at the end of the placement.

Reward and support

Each emergency bed scheme foster carer will receive:

  • a continuous retainer payment of £250 per week for the full 8 weeks
  • additional payments, reward and maintenance, when a child is placed which are paid at the higher rate regardless of the age of the child
  • a complex needs enhanced payment in addition to the above when children are placed who have significantly higher risk taking behaviours
  • six hours day care per month to support you to access professional development opportunities.

To find out more:

Carers will ideally have previous fostering experience. Other specialist childcare or social care experience is also considered.

Short term fostering is caring for children aged up to 18 years old for short, focused time periods. It is also known as ‘task centred' fostering.

The role

Foster carers providing task centered care do not need any specific experience, just a love of children and young people and the motivation and commitment to help them achieve their potential.

You will provide a stable home where children and young people have opportunities to develop positive, safe relationships and recover from difficult experiences while a more permanent plan is made for them.

Task centered care can include looking after a child or young person for a couple of nights in an emergency, several weeks or months while their parents work to improve their parenting ready for their child to return to their care, supporting a child move on for adoption, or helping a teenager get ready to move onto independence.

Reward and support

Foster carers will receive:

  • fostering payments of up to £520.10 per week per child (based on an Advanced Level 3 carer looking after a 16 to 18-year-old)
  • two weeks holiday payment per year
  • an allocated fostering social worker
  • access to 24-hour support
  • comprehensive training and development opportunities including an induction programme, ongoing training and qualifications to diploma level
  • access to fostering support groups
  • an allocated mentor during your first year of fostering
  • membership to FosterTalk
  • membership to the Kent Foster Care Association
  • support from Virtual School Kent
  • access to the Children and Young People's Council
  • participation in appreciation and activity days
  • payment for skills panel consideration to recognise training undertaken and carer’s abilities
  • enhanced payments for caring for children and young people who have more complex behaviours.

Permanent fostering is where a carer or carers have been matched with a specific child, young person or sibling group and looks after them for an extended period - usually up to 18 years old, when return to family or adoption is not an option. We also support young people to remain with their foster carers up until they are 21 under a 'staying put' arrangement.

The role

Foster carers providing permanent care do not need any specific experience, just a love of children and young people and the motivation and commitment to help them achieve their potential.

You will provide a stable home where children and young people have opportunities to develop positive, safe relationships and recover from difficult experiences with the knowledge that their foster family have claimed them fully.

Reward and support

Foster carers will receive:

  • fostering payments of up to £520.10 per week per child (based on an Advanced Level 3 carer looking after a 16 to 18-year-old)
  • two weeks holiday payment per year
  • an allocated fostering social worker
  • access to 24-hour support
  • comprehensive training and development opportunities including an induction programme, ongoing training and qualifications to diploma level
  • access to fostering support groups
  • an allocated mentor during your first year of fostering
  • membership to FosterTalk
  • membership to the Kent Foster Care Association
  • support from Virtual School Kent
  • access to the Children and Young People's Council
  • participation in appreciation and activity days
  • payment for skills panel consideration to recognise training undertaken and carer’s abilities
  • enhanced payments for caring for children and young people who have more complex behaviours.

Disabled children's fostering includes looking after children and young people who have autism, physical impairment, learning difficulties, or complex health needs.

Our dedicated team provides full training and support to disabled children's foster carers, so no previous experience is needed. We also offer enhanced fostering payments up to £610.60 a week (dependent on the child’s needs and foster carers skills level payment).

Foster carers for disabled children can look after them on a task centered or permanent basis.

Short break foster care is where you offer short term fostering to disabled children to provide their parents with a break, in order to support them in maintaining the high level of care their children need. Short breaks can include occasional days, evenings, weekends or school holidays.

The role

Foster carers looking after disabled children do not need any specific experience, although if you do have skills in caring for children or adults with learning and/or physical disabilities, this will help when caring for these children.

A love of children and young people and the motivation and commitment to help them achieve their potential is important. As part of your role you are likely to need to support personal care alongside high levels of learning and emotional needs.

Reward and support

Foster carers will receive:

  • enhanced fostering payments of up to £610.60 a week per child (dependent on the child’s needs and the foster carer's skills level payment)
  • specialist supervision, training and support from our dedicated Disabled Children's Fostering Team.
  • for short breaks foster carers, the ability to work full time providing care at weekends and during holiday times (this is often of particular in interest to teaching staff)
  • two weeks holiday payment per year
  • access to 24-hour support
  • an allocated mentor during your first year of fostering
  • membership to FosterTalk
  • membership to the Kent Foster Care Association
  • support from Virtual School Kent
  • access to the Children and Young People's Council
  • participation in appreciation and activity days
  • payment for skills panel consideration to recognise training undertaken and carer’s abilities.

16+ foster carers provide a loving home, as well as emotional and practical support to teenagers as they move towards becoming young adults.

The role

Foster carers of children aged 16+ can, and often do, have other employment, as long as they have the flexibility to attend training courses and meetings and the young people they look after can have an increased level of independence.

You will provide a stable and safe home for a young person, who may be newly into care following family breakdown or disharmony. You will also provide teaching, guiding and mentoring about the life skills needed for adulthood. Although no specific experience is needed for this type of fostering, transferable skills from youth work, teaching, and community groups for example are often very useful, as these help develop good communication, negotiation and advocacy skills.

Reward and support

Foster carers will receive:

  • fostering payments of up to £520.10 per week per child (based on an Advanced Level 3 carer looking after a 16 to 18-year-old)
  • two weeks holiday payment per year
  • an allocated fostering social worker
  • access to 24-hour support
  • comprehensive training and development opportunities including an induction programme, ongoing training and qualifications to diploma level
  • access to fostering support groups
  • an allocated mentor during your first year of fostering
  • membership to FosterTalk
  • membership to the Kent Foster Care Association
  • support from Virtual School Kent
  • access to the Children and Young People's Council
  • participation in appreciation and activity days
  • payment for skills panel consideration to recognise training undertaken and carer’s abilities.