Frequently Asked Questions

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Who can be a foster carer?

You can be single and foster – but you will need to demonstrate a network of support, you don’t have to own your own home – but you will need to demonstrate stability, your sexual orientation won’t prevent you from fostering, your religion won’t prevent you from fostering – but you will need to demonstrate how you can support a child of a different religion from yours or questioning their own faith, you don’t need any formal qualifications – you will be trained with the skills to foster and be supported to achieve the training and development standards in England.

How long does it take to become a foster carer?

From start to finish, it usually takes around three to four months for you to be all set up and approved. This includes background checks, assessments and training courses. We’ll always do our best to process your application as swiftly as possible, but please be aware that it can sometimes take up to six months before a child is placed with you.

What happens in the assessment process?

To make sure foster care is for you, we work together to take a thorough look at your life. The process takes a few months to complete and you’ll have a dedicated supervising social worker to support you every step of the way.
For more information, please click here, to see our page on the ‘Application Process’.

Can I foster if I am over 55?

There is no official upper age limit for foster carers, some carers continue welling their 70s.

If you can show that you have the experience, ability and dedication to make a difference to a child’s life then you are not too old to foster. Anyone can make an excellent carer, providing they are fit and well and able to look after a child or young person.

Almost half of the nation thinks that if you’re over 55 you can’t be a foster carer. As a general rule, service providers like foster carers to be over 21 years old but legally you can apply to foster from 18 years old dependent on your ability and situation.

How do I transfer from another agency?

It’s quite straightforward to transfer from your current fostering agency to Amicus Foster Care. The quickest way to find out the best route for you is to call us on 0117 955 5039 so we can guide you through it.

For more information, click here to visit our page, ‘looking To Transfer’.

Would a previous criminal conviction prevent me from fostering?

Previous criminal convictions would not necessarily prevent you from fostering. It depends upon the nature of the conviction and when it occurred. It is standard for us to complete an enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check at an early stage in the assessment process so we would expect you to discuss any previous or current convictions with us as soon as possible. We will then decide whether or how it might affect your application to become a foster carer. This information would remain confidential at all times.

What sort of checks would be carried out on me and my home?

As well as the DBS check, we complete checks with Local Authority. We obtain 3 personal references which will include a reference from someone in your extended family, adult children of the family who live away from home, employers, ex -partners (where applicable). We would also carry out a medical and financial assessment and health and safety check on your home.

Do I have to own my own home?

No, you can rent your home from a private landlord, council or housing association as long as you have their written permission to say that you can use the house to foster.

Can a foster child share a bedroom with one of my own children?

No, we only place a child in a home where he or she will have their own bedroom (unless they are a young sibling group and then they may be able to share) which is not used by anybody else and is big enough to fit a single bed, chest of drawers and a single wardrobe and ideally a desk/table, and it means they’ll have their own space and privacy.

Can I choose which age group or gender I would prefer to foster?

We decide this together. During your assessment we will discuss the types of fostering that you may be interested in, as well as the ages and needs of the children you would like to care for.

How much will I know about the child or young person before they are placed with me?

If you have been identified as a suitable match to one of our children and young people, Amicus staff will discuss the child’s details with you, and together, we can decide whether you want to go ahead. We will provide you with as much information about them and their background as possible.

Can I still work and be a foster carer?

We require at least one foster carer within a household to be at home on a full time basis. In some cases it may still be possible to continue working but fostering must be your primary focus as the expectation is that you will be available to attend training, support groups, children and young people’s meetings.

Will I receive training?

You will complete the preparation training course called ‘Skills to Foster’ during your assessment and following your approval you will receive comprehensive on-going training and development.

What support will I receive?

You will be supported by your supervising social worker who meets with you, and will be in contact with you regularly. You will be supported by Amicus out of hours on call service, and you will also be invited to our foster care support group meetings, and therapy group meetings, alongside activities and social events.

I am intending to be the main foster carer, do you need to carry out checks on my partner?

Yes, if you are living together, your partner will be a secondary carer and as such, you will both need to be involved in the application and assessment process, and the fostering task.