Fostering in North Lincolnshire

Becoming a foster carer can help make a huge difference to a local child’s life – and yours.

Find out more about the experiences of foster carers in North Lincolnshire by watching the video below.

Make a difference.  Become a foster carer

Sometimes, for lots of different reasons, children and young people are unable to live with their birth families or relatives. It is the job of foster carers to help provide a safe and loving environment where these young individuals can thrive and grow.

To become a foster carer you need to be:

  • at least 21 years old
  • a UK resident or have indefinite leave to remain
  • able to take care of a child or young person on a short or long term basis

North Lincolnshire Council provides different types of foster care placements to meet the different needs of our children and young people. How long you care for a foster child depends on the type of foster care you approve for.

North Lincolnshire Council’s fostering services team was inspected and judged as Outstanding by Ofsted. You can read the Ofsted report here.

If you are interested in fostering or want to find out more, please contact our team on fostering@northlincs.gov.uk, call 01724 297000 or join one of our fostering information events.

Fostering Information events

Information events are for anyone with a question about the fostering process and supporting young people, providing the opportunity to speak with our expert team and hear the experiences of local foster carers.

  • Fostering Information Event on Wednesday 10 November from 6pm to 7.30pm at Dunhelm Coffee Shop


In the meantime, if you are interested in fostering or want to find out more, please contact our team on fostering@northlincs.gov.uk or call 01724 297000.


Fostering in North Lincolnshire

In North Lincolnshire, we understand that every individual and circumstance is different which is why we need all different types of foster carers. Our expert team work closely with fostering households to match children and young people based on the individual care plan and carer’s personal skills, experience and recommendation of the type of foster care approved for.

Mainstream Foster Care

From an overnight stay to permanence into adulthood, mainstream foster care is dependant upon the child’s individual needs.

Short Breaks Foster Care

Respite Mainstream Care – Short break respite foster care welcomes children and young people for a week or long weekend on a regular, planned arrangement or impromptu basis.

Disability Short Breaks – Providing specialist care and support for children and young people with disabilities. This can include day care or a limited number of overnight stays per month.

The various types of placement include:

Long Term
Providing a home for children and young people until they reach adulthood.

Short Term
Providing placement from an overnight stay up to two years.

Emergency Foster Care
Some children and young people need a placement on an unplanned basis for a variety of reasons. Foster carers can be specifically approved to fulfil this role to meet the needs of children during an emergency situation.

Connected Persons
Wherever possible, children who require alternative care are placed with friends or extended family members.

Parent and Childcare
A specialist foster carer scheme for young parents and their children. Providing advice and guidance on childcare whilst acting as an important role in the parenting assessment.

Private Fostering
A private fostering arrangement is made without the involvement of the local authority by someone other than a parent or ‘connected person’ wishing to care for a child under the age of 16 for 28 days or more. It is imperative that the local authority is informed of these arrangements to ensure a suitable placement and the safety of the young individual.

Foster carers come from all walks of life and don’t need any specific qualifications to help make a huge difference to a young person’s life. If you are over the age of 21 with the room in your home and the time and love to give, our team want to hear from you.

North Lincolnshire Council consider each application on an individual basis, regardless of whether you are:

  • single, married, divorced or in a relationship
  • heterosexual or LGBTQ
  • disabled or able-bodied
  • in full-time or part-time employment or receiving benefits
  • have children of your own, or not
  • have previous experience of working with children, or not
  • are a homeowner or renting

We understand that fostering is a big decision which is why our expert team are on hand for support and advice about fostering and how it will fit into your life and family.

North Lincolnshire Council are recruiting foster carers for children of all ages but currently have a need for foster carers who can help support children aged 11+, sibling groups and children seeking asylum.

Foster carers must be at least 21 years old and be in good health, both physically and mentally. Fostering is demanding but also incredibly rewarding and our application process ensures that each applicant can effectively and confidently manage the pressures of fostering a young individual.

To apply please complete our online expression of interest form.

The predicted application timescale, from application to approval, is around six months. However, if you are an existing foster carer within an agency or another local authority wishing to transfer to North Lincolnshire Council, our team will be able to fast track your application.

Stage One

  • Complete our online expression of interest form
  • A phone call with a member of our expert fostering team, made within five working days, to provide further information
  • An allocated assessment worker will make an initial home visit, ideally arranged within seven working days
  • Your allocated assessment worker will undertake a thorough assessment of the household whilst providing ongoing support and advice. This will typically be completed within four months from application
  • Statutory applicant checks. North Lincolnshire Council are legally obliged to carry out statutory checks which include DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service), medical reports, three personal references and a family member reference, and checks from current and previous local authorities
  • Additional checks will also be completed which include NSPCC, health visiting service, employer’s reference, previous partners (in discussion with each individual applicant) and interview with any children
  • Invited to attend mandatory Skills to Foster training

Stage Two

  • Regular one-to-one support and guidance with your allocated assessment worker to complete an individual assessment report
  • Completion of the assessment report which outlines your assessment worker’s recommendation for approval. Each applicant will have the opportunity to view and add any comments to their report
  • Attendance at a fostering panel alongside your dedicated assessment worker to present the assessment report, comments and statutory checks. Following each fostering panel a recommendation will be made to the ADM (Agency Decision Maker)
  • The ADM will consider all of the information from the fostering panel and make a final decision within five working days. The final decision will be made both verbally and in writing by the assessment worker
  • Once approved you will be allocated a dedicated fostering social worker to support you throughout your fostering journey. You will also receive induction training and a foster carer’s handbook
  • Our expert fostering team will start to match you with local children based on care plans and your individual recommendation

These are just some of the things our foster carers have told us :

  • I wasn’t ready to hang up my apron and stop being a mum
  • We find fostering very rewarding
  • Children are fascinating, funny, challenging and unique – every day they make you laugh and often amaze you
  • They are hard work but so rewarding
  • To see a first tooth or first step is a privilege and we are very fortunate
  • We take a great pride in improving their lives and giving them a better start in life
  • When the child is doing great you feel a great sense of achievement
  • When children you have in care start making plans for the future, you know they’re comfortable and confident enough to not just think of surviving the here and now, but are looking forward and making plans. They have dreams. I always smile when they do that
  • When you get a child to feel a sense of pride in themselves
  • When a little one puts their arm round you and snuggles into your neck
  • Just to watch them thrive and overcome their obstacles

These are some of the wonderful foster carers who make a difference to the lives of children and young people in North Lincolnshire.


In January 1984 Sue first became a foster carer for North Lincolnshire Council. Already a mother to four boys, Sue decided to foster.

Sue found that she always seemed to have a house full of her children’s friends and  said “children seem really happy here so we must have something to offer”.  As she enjoyed the feel of a busy home she thought she would try to foster and open her family to a child who needed one. Sue recalled feeling nervous throughout the assessment process, worried whether or not her family were good enough. She found the nerves increase as she attended the Skills to Foster training as this made her more determined that fostering was something she wanted to do. Sue recalls, “when we got the approval as foster carers and then were matched to a young person the family was thrilled”.

Since first becoming a foster carer Sue has cared for over 40 children. “Looking back at those children I feel proud of what I’ve offered to them all. I’ve maintained relationships with many of them even now they’re adults and I’m sure some will turn up this Christmas”.

The rewards of being a mainstream foster carer

Sue commits to children long term and currently fosters three children between the ages of 8 and 18. One previously fostered child still lives with her as an adult, 27 years later!

“When a child first comes I still feel nervous, but I remind myself that if I feel nervous the child must be much more nervous! I still worry whether I will be good enough or whether they will be happy but I know I will always do my best. My kids are the best help when a child first arrives. We are a family and they will often help break the ice by showing the children around and helping them feel at home.”

“I love having a house full, I don’t know what else I would do if I wasn’t a foster carer. I love taking the children places, giving them new experiences and being a family. I love the thought that I have made the difference to make a child happy. They only get one childhood and it’s up to us to make it the best that they can have; a happy one. We enjoy reminiscing with our children about happy occasions and the things they’ve achieved. The children can often present me with challenges but there are always just as many happy memories. I manage the challenges by remembering every day is a new day, and every day as a family we start afresh. We talk openly with children to help them understand each other, understand why other children can be challenging sometimes and then we work together to make the family a happy one.”

“My birth children have definitely benefited from being in a fostering household because from this they have learnt a sense of caring for others and that to be a family you do not have to be born in to it. There will have been times that they found it hard to share my time but I know they’re proud of what I do and how they have helped.”

“To anyone who wants to foster I would say look at your family, look at the strengths of your family and you. Think about what you can offer to a child. My boys have learnt to appreciate that they have always had someone to love them and care for them and the children who we foster haven’t always had that.”

Sue was the winner of the North Lincolnshire Community Champion Award for Outstanding Achievement recognising her contribution through fostering.  “I’m not normally one for singing my own praises but I felt so proud of this and I want to tell everyone. Sue’s children and mother attended the awards ceremony and felt proud Sue was being recognised for all she has done as a North Lincolnshire foster carer.

Over the thirty one years of fostering Sue has learnt a lot about caring for children and working with their families but still finds there’s always something new to learn. “When you become a foster carer you should do all the training that you can do. It keeps your feet on the floor, reminds you of the rules, it helps you learn more and get good ideas. I’ve done several training courses numerous times as you take away something different each time. The support from the teams are there when you need it, there isn’t always an answer but people will try and be helpful in any way they can and other foster carers are a great source of advice.”

Sam and Jade

Jade has been a foster carer to 34 children. Sam has fostered 32 children.  They told us that fostering is really rewarding. It has its challenges but it’s the best job in the world.

Support and guidance

We strongly believe that having a local support community goes a long way in helping you to successfully foster. You will have access to:

  • Support and supervision from a dedicated social worker
  • Regular foster carer meetings, coffee mornings and support groups
  • A buddy scheme with an experienced foster carer
  • Weekly information updates to keep you in touch with fostering news
  • Fostering Network membership offering magazines, independent support and discounts
  • Access to an extended out of hours support team on an evening, night or weekend

We offer our foster carers a comprehensive training package each year that includes a range of courses from specific mandatory training to additional tailored modules, that help enhance knowledge, skills and confidence within the role. In addition, children of foster carers can also receive specific training to help adjust and understand fostering further, along with the opportunity to join the social support group CADU (Come and Join Us).

All foster carers are required to complete the mandatory Training Support Development (TSD) portfolio and attend specific mandatory training courses within the first nine months of approval. This is discussed in detail throughout the assessment process.

To thank and celebrate our foster carers for all the hard work they do, we offer:

  • a generous weekly allowance which does not affect any state benefits you may be receiving
  • reward days, social activities and trips for the whole family – For example, this currently includes an annual summer fun day, trip to Flamingo Land and a Christmas pantomime for the whole household
  • interest free loans to purchase a new or bigger vehicle for the household. To take advantage of an interest-free loan foster carers must have a full driving licence, intend to continue foster for the council for the full period of the loan and have children places within the household at the time of the loan or within three months of application. Apply for the foster carer car loan below:

North Lincolnshire Council works closely with tourist attractions and local businesses to offer a variety of free and discounted passes and entry. The list below is ongoing and includes discounts for both fostering households and care leavers. Please continue to check in regularly for updates.

Discounts for fostering households

  • Flexible VIB passes at Gravity Trampoline Park Hull for just £11.95 per month. This pass can be transferred to any child in your care and gives you one hourly session per day, every day. Find out more by visiting the Gravity UK website. Gravity also offers work experience and interview opportunities for children in care and care leavers
  • £3 entry for all you can bounce sessions at Air Kings Trampoline Park in Scunthorpe
  • Discounted entry to Messingham Zoo
  • Free entry to the soft play and open farm at Shepherds Place Farm in Haxey
  • 15% off entry to Sandtoft Trolley Bus Museum. Work experience opportunities are also available for children in care and care leavers
  • A Max Card which allows foster families discounted or free admission to a number of venues nationwide. Visit the My Max Card website for more information
  • NL Active’s Looked after Children scheme is open to the entire fostering household – including foster carer’s own children up to the age of 21. This scheme provides access to casual, lane and fun-splash swim sessions free of charge. To access this offer please contact helen.smith@northlincs.gov.uk

Discounts for care leavers

  • Active Lifestyles (NL Active) offer a referral membership scheme which allows young adults aged 16 to 20 a complementary package for an initial 12 month period that is valid at all leisure venues within North Lincolnshire. This includes access to swimming sessions, squash and badminton courts and activity bookings. Please contact helen.smith@northlincs.gov.uk to access this offer
  • Normanby Hall and Country Park are offering care leavers discounted park memberships. Care leavers aged 16 to 20 can receive a complementary Standard Dual Park Membership, whilst care leavers aged 21 to 25 can receive a 50% discount. To access this offer please contact Rachel.cottingham@northlincs.gov.uk

Fostering is incredibly rewarding but we understand that from time-to-time you may need a break. That’s why we ensure that when required we provide respite care for those carers requesting a break from their fostering role

Our policies and procedures

Our Family and Friends policy [PDF, 368Kb] sets out our approach to ensuring that children are well cared for in family and friends arrangements.

Our North Lincolnshire Fostering Statement of Purpose [PDF, 940Kb] explains what the Fostering Service does and the rules that it has to follow.

We have also produced a Young person’s version of the Fostering Statement of Purpose [PDF, 453Kb].

Our Private Fostering Procedures [PDF, 441Kb] set out our:

  • general policies
  • duties
  • standards
  • timescales, and
  • steps to be taken

We are committed to preventing social exclusion amongst care leavers. Our Staying Put procedure [PDF, 518Kb] ensures that young people can continue to live with former foster carers after their 18th birthday. They can make the transition to independent lives at a pace that suits their needs.

The Delegation of Authority policy [PDF, 68Kb] relates to the delegation of decision making about looked after children to the child’s carers.

The policy is relevant to:

  • Foster carers
  • Independent fostering providers
  • Children’s Services social workers
  • Fostering social workers
  • Independent reviewing officers
  • Residential staff
  • Independent residential units
  • Managers of case management
  • Fostering and referral management
  • Lead Cabinet Members
  • Director of Children and Community Resilience
  • Deputy Director of Children and Community Resilience
  • Commissioning Officer for Looked After Children

Useful information about fostering

We welcome enquiries from existing foster carers who work for independent agencies or other local councils.

Why join us?

  • You will look after local children
  • You will receive high quality local support and training
  •  You will receive support from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and the Looked After Children’s Education Service
  •  You will receive regular visits from the fostering social worker (at least monthly)
  • You will receive generous allowances
  • We are able to fast track your application process so you can gain from the benefits of being a foster carer with North Lincolnshire Council  – an Outstanding fostering service

If you would like further information, or want to discuss any issue or questions you have please contact us. We will be happy to help.

You’re a private foster carer if both the following apply:

  • you’re not a close relative, ie grandparent, brother or sister, uncle or aunt or step-parent
  • you’re looking after a child who’s under 16 (under 18 if they’re disabled) for more than 28 days in a row

You must tell us about this arrangement by contacting us on 01724 297000.

What to expect

A social worker will visit you and the child to make sure the child is safe and being properly cared for.

The social worker will do background checks on you. They can also offer help and support.

You must tell us if you’re a parent and you’ve asked someone who isn’t a close relative to look after your child.

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering has lots of resources and information on private fostering.

It is an offence not to notify North Lincolnshire Council of a private fostering arrangement. Failure to inform the council may result in legal proceedings taking place.

Examples of private fostering arrangements

Private fostering situations can include:

  • Children or young people who are sent to this country for education or health care by their birth parents from overseas
  • Teenagers living with a friend’s family because they do not get on with their own family
  • Children living with a friend’s family because their parents’ study or work involves unsociable hours, which makes it difficult to use ordinary day care or after school care
  • Children staying with another family because their parents have divorced or separated, are hospitalised or imprisoned
  • A child from overseas staying with a host family while attending school, or overseas students at boarding school who stay with a host family during the holidays

Think – will they be staying for more than 28 days?

Act – inform North Lincolnshire Council – Single Point of Contact immediately on 01724 297000.

Stop – am I looking after someone else’s child who is not a close relative?

All foster carers are required to register with the Inland Revenue. You will be guided by the Inland Revenue about the information required to ensure that any impact on your tax rights is minimal.


Take a look at the e-learning course for foster carers on Gov.UK.

It covers everything you need to know about starting and running a business. You can work through this at your own pace and dip in and out to suit your own needs.

Webinars and e mail alerts

HMRC run a wide variety of webinars (online presentations) which will help you get things right for your business from the start.

Webinars last less than an hour and you can either choose between a pre-recorded webinar available at any time or a live and interactive webinar where you also get the opportunity to ask questions. The HMRC’s webinars page has a full list of all their webinars. Take a look and try one for yourself.

Sign up for HMRC’s free email service. Receive a series of tax related emails at specific times to let you know what you need to do to keep your tax affairs in order.  These emails remind you when you need to submit your tax returns, make payments to HMRC and what records you need to keep.

Record keeping apps

There are a range of Smart phone record keeping apps supplied by third parties to help you run your business.

Tax help fact sheets

Take a look at HMRC’s Tax Help Fact Sheets

They cover a range of subjects such as self-assessment, expenses and allowances for the self-employed, employing someone for the first time, VAT and limited companies to name a few.

Tax matters on You-Tube

HMRC’s YouTube channel has lots of clips on a range of tax matters.

Supported lodgings

The supported lodgings scheme is designed to provide a stepping-stone placement for young people aged 16 to 24, on their route to independence. Space to spare and time to care? Become a Supported Lodgings host in North Lincolnshire. Find out more on our  Supported Lodgings page.