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Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

  • Wiltshire Council is committed to paying foster carers generous fostering allowances for each child in foster care in line with the Fostering Network Recommended fostering allowance rates
  • In addition the council operates a skill fee scheme. For more information see our fees and allowance section
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  • We like to visit you and your partner (if you are in a relationship), at home and talk with you about what you can offer a child
  • We need to know that your home is suitable and that you have skills and qualities that will enable you to support the child
  • This is your opportunity to ask questions, find out more and explore any concerns you may have.
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  • We offer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One of your main sources of support will be your supervising social worker who will be in regular contact with you to offer advice, support and ensure that children are receiving a good quality of care whilst they are being looked after by the local authority
  • Other professionals involved in caring for the child will also have a role in supporting you around matters such as health and education
  • We also run support groups and social activities for foster carers which many people find enjoyable and helpful
  • As a Wiltshire foster carer you will receive free membership to the Fostering Network, a specialist support organisation to help foster carers, and automatic membership to Wiltshire Fostering Association a local support network provided by Wiltshire foster carers
  • Wiltshire foster carers also receive concessions at local sports, leisure and recreation facilities and access to Wiltshire Council staff benefits
  • Find out more about the benefits, support and training for foster carers
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  • We aim to complete the assessment process in 4 to 6 months of receiving your application form
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  • With new inexperienced carers the placements are dependent on suitable matches. Some carers have started taking placements immediately after approval and others have waited for a couple of months. Each potential placement will be fully discussed with you
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  • Foster Carers are required to have a separate bedroom available for a foster child although sometimes foster brothers and sisters can share a room
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  • This will be dependent upon the number of bedrooms available, whether the looked after children are related (young siblings can in some circumstances share a room) and your assessed ability to provide the necessary care needs for the children placed with you
  • Legally foster carers are limited to caring for three foster children unless they are a large group of brothers and sisters or there are special circumstances
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  • We encourage foster carers to identify their own trusted support network who will offer you occasional babysitting or the odd day off
  • This may be from amongst other carers
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  • Where a young person is either temporarily or permanently excluded from education, a looked after children education advisor will be involved in identifying a suitable alternative package
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  • Because the plan is for most children to be returned to their families, it is important in most cases that regular contact continues
  • This may involve telephone calls to the child and/or occasional visits in your home
  • Contact with the child's family may also take place outside of your home where very frequent visits are agreed
  • It is important where possible that foster carers and birth parents have an effective working relationship
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  • To ensure the health of looked after children we recognise some carers and children will benefit from additional specialised services
  • These should be agreed early on in the placement or when a need arises
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  • Fostering very much involves your whole family, although it is appreciated that in many situations one of the adults is often the main carer
  • We recognise that birth children can find it difficult to share their homes and families and we will offer as much support as possible in this area
  • We run a support group which includes fun activities for the sons and daughters of foster carers
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  • Where possible, we will provide you with written background information on the young people placed with you and all foster carers are expected to keep brief written records of the child's time with them
  • Your family placement officer will offer you support and guidance with this
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  • It does not rule you out, but we want our children to be as healthy as possible and so we will follow recognised guidelines which your social worker can discuss with you during the assessment process
  • We do not place children under five or those with physical conditions that could be adversely affected by a smoky environment such as breathing problems or heart disease in homes where anyone smokes
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  • People with certain serious offences cannot foster
  • This also applies if someone in your household has a serious offence
  • If you have a minor offence or a historical conviction it is best to be honest and talk it through with us and we can advise you
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  • You will not be asked to look after a child without first being given all available information about the child’s history and behaviour
  • This is essential for you to understand what the child needs and to help you care for them safely
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  • The plan for most children is to be returned to their families so it is important in most cases that regular contact continues
  • This may involve telephone calls to the child and/or occasional visits in your home
  • You will be involved in deciding how this contact is managed
  • Contact with the child's family may also take place outside of your home if this is more appropriate
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  • Fostering very much involves your whole family, although it is appreciated that in many situations one of the adults is often the main carer
  • We recognise that birth children can find it difficult to share their homes and families and we will offer as much support as possible in this area
  • We run a support group which involves fun activities for the sons and daughters of foster carers
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  • Wherever possible we try and keep things familiar for our foster children, including going to their regular school with their friends
  • Children placed long-term may transfer to a school within your community
  • The child’s individual circumstances will be taken into account and this will be discussed with you as their foster carer
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  • We will always look to match a child to you and your family and this will be discussed with you before you agree to care for a child
  • If, however you do experience problems we will provide the necessary support to find a solution, as it is important that children do not have too many moves as this can be damaging for them
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  • Including your foster child on your family holiday is usually encouraged but in some circumstances it may not be possible
  • An annual holiday allowance is payable in respect of each child/young person in placement. This is a contribution towards the additional costs involved
  • If it's not possible for a young person to join you, a respite placement could be provided
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  • Some carers work and still foster
  • It will depend on the age of your foster child, the type of fostering you choose, whether you are a single carer or can balance child care duties between you and your partner, whilst working
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  • It is unlikely
  • The allowances we pay are to meet the needs of your foster child and you are not classed as our employee
  • The government has given generous tax allowances for fostering which means that most foster carers do not pay tax on their fostering allowances and fees
  • You will be able to find additional support and guidance regarding tax for foster carers through these readily accessible 'bite-size' modules - Foster carers' E-learning regarding tax
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  • The assessment process helps you explore your strengths and what you and your family can offer a child
  • You and your assessing social worker will agree what suits you and your family
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  • Foster children’s behaviour can be affected by their experiences and because they are away from home
  • Being part of a secure family environment is the first step in helping them feel settled and this will help their behaviour
  • We will provide all the support, training and guidance you need to manage difficult situations and to help the child
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If you're thinking of fostering, go ahead and start the ball rolling, because you've got nothing to lose and an awful lot to gain.

Bea Meadows
Last updated: 14 December 2016 | Last reviewed: 14 December 2016