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Fostering in North Lincolnshire

To follow any changes to this service, visit the Council Service Updates page.

Find out about fostering in North Lincolnshire.

Become a foster carer

Fostering is when children who aren’t able to live with their birth families are placed in a safe and loving home.

Being a foster parent means caring for a child as part of your family. To become a foster parent 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, often on a full-time basis

How long you care for the child depends on the type of foster care. It can range from one night to many years, or until the child is an adult.

Taking the time to look into fostering is a first step towards a rewarding challenge for some people. Thank you for making that first step to help make a difference to a child’s life.

If you are interested in fostering or want to find out more, please contact us on fostering@northlincs.gov.uk or 01724 297024 or join one of our fostering information evenings (advertised on our Facebook page).

Types of fostering in North Lincolnshire

Mainstream fostering provides care for children and young people. It can be from one overnight stay to permanence into adulthood. This depends upon the child’s individual needs.

A short break involves caring for a child for a weekend on a regular or impromptu basis. This offers children the opportunity to enhance their life experiences. It also supports parents or carers to care for the child or young person on a permanent basis.

Short breaks can also involve caring for a child whilst other foster carers are away on holiday.

The Butterflies short break scheme provides care and support for children and young people with disabilities. This can include day care or a limited number of overnight stays per month, consistently caring for the same child.

Children are specifically matched to carers based upon the child’s individual needs.

Whenever possible, children who require alternative care are placed with friends or extended family members, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, close neighbours and so on.

These placements often work well for children as they go to live with people they already know.

Friends and family foster carers are only assessed and approved when children are subject to interim or full care orders.

Parent and child placements are provided under the specialist foster carer scheme and receive an allowance for the child. The fee recognises the specialist nature of this arrangement. A fostering allowance is also received in respect of caring for a young parent under the age of 18. There is an additional allowance if supporting a young parent over the age of 18.

There are no other children in placement for the duration of a parent and child arrangement.

Some children need a placement on an unplanned basis for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • conflict within the family home
  • homelessness
  • missing from home, or
  • as a result of alleged criminal activity as an alternative to being held overnight in police custody

Individual foster carers are approved specifically to fulfil this role. They have the skills and resilience to meet the needs of children in an emergency situation.

We are committed to preventing social exclusion amongst care leavers. Our Staying Put policy 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.

What our foster carers say about fostering in North Lincolnshire

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.

Sue

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 for foster carers

Allowance

You will receive a generous weekly allowance to cover fostering a child. These payments do not affect any state benefits you may be receiving.

Training

A comprehensive package of training is delivered each year. There is an expectation that foster carers will complete a training support development (TSD) portfolio within the first year of approval and attend specific mandatory training courses.

Fostering social worker support

You will have your own allocated fostering social worker to support and guide you through your fostering role. As a minimum they will visit you monthly. They will also be available to you on a daily basis by telephone.

Bi-monthly foster carer meetings

The bi-monthly foster carer meetings provide an opportunity to meet with other foster carers, senior managers and hear guest speakers.

Foster Care Association

Membership of a local Foster Care Association group who meet regularly for coffee, discussion and to share issues.

Annual Flamingo Land trip

Each summer foster carers enjoy a social event with other carers and foster children at Flamingo Land.

Fun day

Foster carers and children enjoy a social day filled with fun events every summer.

Annual panto

Each year foster carers and their households are invited to join other carers at a local pantomime.

Sons and daughters of foster carers

Sons and daughters of foster carers receive specific training during the Skills to Foster course. They also take part in the above social activities as well as having the opportunity to join “the Come and Join Us (CAJU) club” (a group specifically for children of foster carers).

Buddy scheme

The buddy scheme includes support from experienced foster carers.

Foster carers coffee mornings

Regular coffee mornings for foster carers and their families to get together and have a chat.

Weekly information updates

Weekly updates to keep you in touch with what’s happening.

Fostering network

All foster carers are provided with a membership offering magazines, discounts and independent support.

The Max Card is a discount card for foster families and families of children with additional needs. Families simply show their Max Card upon entry to a venue in order to obtain free or discounted admission. Visit the My Max Card website for more information and a list of frequently asked questions.

North Lincolnshire foster carers will receive a Max Card on completion of the mandatory training.

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.

E-learning

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.

As part of our commitment to ensuring the highest standards of safety for children in our care, we are providing interest free loans to foster carers who need to buy a bigger vehicle in order to accommodate the whole family, including foster children.

If you are a foster carer with children in your care and you wish to purchase a new / second-hand vehicle to ensure their safety, you can take advantage of an interest-free loan.

You must:

  • Have a full driving licence
  • Intend to continue fostering for the council for the full period of the loan
  • Have children placed with you at the time of the loan or within three months before you apply for the loan

Useful information about fostering

The North Lincolnshire Council fostering services team was inspected and judged as Outstanding by Ofsted.

You can read the Ofsted report on the Ofsted website

If you’ve considered fostering, but didn’t think you would be eligible – then think again.

National research found that one in ten people do not understand what fostering actually means or why children and young people are placed in foster care. We are aiming to change those perceptions and bust the myths around fostering by informing people how they can make a difference to children in care.

We are recruiting foster carers for all ages of children but currently have a need for carers who can care for teenagers and for children with a disability.

Myths about fostering

Some of the myths about fostering include:

I’m too old to foster

We accept applications from any adult over the age of 21 years. There is no upper age limit, our only requirement is that you are healthy enough and are able to meet the physical and emotional demands of caring for a child or young person.

I’d love to foster, but I’m male

We welcome single applicants of either gender. We have single male foster carers who love their fostering role and offer a high level of care to the children they look after.

I’d love to foster, but I’m gay

We welcome applications from adults who are gay, lesbian, transgender or heterosexual. Our criteria is based upon your ability to meet the needs of children in care, not your sexuality.

I’d love to foster, but I don’t own my own home

We have foster carers who live in rented accommodation or who own their own home. If you rent your home we ask that you gain your landlord’s approval to foster and that the child can have their own bedroom (unless they are under two years of age).

I’d love to foster, but I don’t have children

You don’t have to be a parent to be able to foster. We will ask you during the assessment process to share with us your experience of caring for children. This may be through work, voluntary activities, caring for family members’ children or experience of caring for step children. If you do have your own children living at home, we will carefully match foster children or young people to the needs of your family and circumstances.

I’d love to foster, but I’m single

We do not have any requirements about your marital status. Our foster carers may be single, married, in a civil partnership or living with a partner.

I’d love to foster, but, I haven’t worked with children or young people

We have foster carers from a wide range of backgrounds, including office staff, police officers, delivery drivers, shop workers, hairdressers. You don’t have to work with children to become a foster carer. We will offer you excellent training, development and support so you’re prepared for the challenges and rewards of fostering. We just ask that you’ve got some experience of caring for children or young people through your family or volunteering.

I’d love to foster, but I can’t afford to give up work

We have foster carers who work full time, part time or are home based. We do not place children below school age with foster carers who work as we want our children to have stability with one main carer. We have carers who fit fostering around work and offer short breaks to children with a disability or children on the edge of care. We ask foster carers who are approved under our specialist scheme to have one foster carer who is home based due to the complex needs of children requiring this service. We pay allowances in line with the fostering network rate. Specialist carers receive a higher rate in recognition of them being required to be home based

I’d love to foster, but it might affect my benefits

The general position with foster carers is that any payments you receive to assist with fostering will be disregarded for benefits purposes. You can get further advice from the Fostering Network website and their booklet signposts in fostering – benefits.

I’d love to foster, but I have a disability

We welcome disabled applicants. Every person who applies to foster will have a medical check. As long as you are considered medically fit to foster, there are no issues.

Fosters carers must be at least 21 years old. There is no legal upper age limit. Fostering can be a physically and emotionally demanding role so all applicants will have to demonstrate they are sufficiently fit and active enough to cope with the pressures of fostering a child.

Statutory checks on applicants

We are legally obliged to carry out statutory checks. These include:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (criminal offences)
  • Medical reports from GP of each applicant which are then considered by a medical adviser
  • Checks from current and previous local authorities where you have lived
  • Three personal references from people who have known you for longer than two years
  • Family member reference

We will also undertake the following checks:

  • Health visiting service
  • NSPCC
  • Previous partners (in discussion with applicant)
  • Employer’s reference
  • Interview with your children and any adult children

The process for approval

  • At the end of the assessment, your worker completes a report outlining their recommendation for approval as a foster carer – you will see the completed report and add your comments
  • The report and your comments, together with all of the statutory checks, are presented to the Fostering Panel which you are invited to attend along with your assessing social worker
  • The Foster Panel makes a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker based on the assessment information and any questions asked of yourself and the assessing social worker
  • The Agency Decision Maker considers all of the information and makes a final decision with respect to approval
  • This decision is made within five days of the Agency Decision Maker receiving the minutes from the Fostering Panel
  • You will then be informed verbally by the Assessing Social Worker and in writing

Timescale

  • After your initial enquiry, we will telephone you within five working days to provide more information and arrange a visit within seven days if you wish to proceed.
  • You will then be invited to attend the next skills to foster course and complete an application form.
  • Your allocated social worker will undertake a thorough assessment of you and your family which takes up to eight visits – this will be completed within four months

The total timescales from application to approval should be within six months. However, if you are an existing foster carer within an agency or another local authority we will be able to ‘fast track’ your application.

Promoting life chances for young people within the community

The supported lodgings scheme aims to provide placements for vulnerable young people who are either:

  • leaving the care of the local authority or
  • have been subject to family break down

We are looking for people from all walks of  life and cultures to offer support and guidance to a young person. Someone who can give them a start out on the road to real independence. Having the security of a safe place to live and friendly advice from a caring a responsible adult can help to remove some of the pressure they are already experiencing.

Do you think you fit the bill?  If so, you could become a supported lodgings provider.

We want to talk to people who:
  • can offer a comfortable room in a house where the access to shared facilities such as a kitchen and bathroom is agreed and understood
  • are willing to provide a degree of emotional and practical support to a young person
  • demonstrate commitment towards equality of opportunity for young people.

A supported lodgings placement offers more than merely bed and board. It offers the provision of befriending support, offering advice and guidance on issues that affect young people – coping with relationship difficulties with parents, peers and boy or girlfriends. You would be actively helping a young person to develop skills which will assist them in moving towards independence, such as cooking and budgeting. You may also be able to assist in them accessing training and education, job and career opportunities.

What we offer

In return for your support and assistance, we will provide:

  • a weekly allowance
  • all the necessary training required to help you fulfil your role
  • an allocated supported lodgings support worker to provide you with ongoing support and guidance during the placement.
Further information

If you would like more information please complete our online form below. If you feel that a chat with a member of staff would be useful please call us on 01724 297024

Alternatively, text ‘lodgings’ to 8443

Current providers’ views on the work they do:

“It can be challenging sometimes, helping young people to work through some often very difficult life experiences”.

“I find it rewarding to hear from them after they have left my home, to hear how well they are doing”.

“You definitely need to be committed, as many of the young people have been let down enough in their past”.

“The best thing is watching the young person move on and be able to cope with their past and get to a place where they are happy”.