Fostering is the term used to describe looking after a child in a registered foster home on a temporary basis, until they can return safely to their own family. There are however some children who, for whatever reason, cannot return to their birth families and need to be cared for in a foster home for a longer period of time. In East Riding of Yorkshire we are particularly short of foster carers for babies and toddlers, teenagers and sibling groups.
We appreciate that choosing to foster a child is not a decision to be taken lightly and we hope that the different options described in this website will give you enough information to take the next step. We’ll be with you all the way, offering help, encouragement, support and guidance, assisting you through every aspect of the application process, ensuring that you make the right decision.
You may wish to come along to one of our information event road shows where you can find out more about fostering. Find out about the information event road shows.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council recruits and supports a range of foster families to care for children needing a foster home. The council aims to meet the needs of both the foster carer and the child/children they care for. With our full support and guidance, we will endeavour to make fostering the most fulfilling and rewarding experience you have ever had.
Foster carers with East Riding of Yorkshire council receive a weekly allowance. They can choose a particular age range of children to foster and decide the type of fostering they would like to consider.
Applicants don't need to have had children, but need to be over 21 with time to spare, a spare room and an understanding of children. Couples, single, heterosexual, lesbian or gay people can be foster parents. Unmarried couples or those in a civil partnership can also apply to foster jointly.
Foster carers receive full professional training and support from our dedicated fostering team and training officer. They also have the option of taking further qualifications, such as Diploma for Children and Young Peoples Workforce level 3, as well as the back-up of an excellent fostering support network.
Fostering a child in need can be a very rewarding experience, it can also be quite challenging. You will need patience, commitment and a sense of humour, but ultimately the rewards will be life-changing.
I am single or a single parent
Yes. All types of people are foster carers including married, unmarried couples and single men and women. It doesn't matter if you are a parent or not, what’s important are the skills and qualities you can offer.
I am retired
Yes. There are no official upper age limits. As long as you are reasonably fit and active you can foster.
I have my own children
Yes. Your own children would be included in the approval process too, as they are an important part of your family.
I am gay/lesbian
Yes. East Riding of Yorkshire Council is committed to equality of opportunity and therefore interested in the skills and ability you have to offer and not your sexuality.
I own or rent a house
Yes, as long as you have a spare room and can offer a safe, secure home environment.
I am disabled and/or have a health problem
Yes. Everyone who applies to foster will need a medical as part of the assessment process to ensure you have the ability to care for a child. If you are disabled or have a medical condition, our medical adviser will consider the factors and make recommendations on your suitability.
I have a criminal conviction
Yes. Criminal convictions do not necessarily bar you from fostering. Much depends on the seriousness of the offence, how long ago the crime was committed and how you have lived your life since. People with convictions for violent or
sexual offences against children cannot foster.
I work full time
Yes. Many parents work full time, managing a career and childcare. You may want to consider fostering on a part-time basis, as long as you can make a regular commitment.
I do not live within East Riding of Yorkshire
Yes. If you live near the East Riding of Yorkshire.
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Applicants don't need to have had children, but need to be over 21 (those under 25 should have some appropriate life experience), a spare room and an understanding of children. Couples with families, couples without families, single, heterosexual, lesbian or gay people can be foster parents. Unmarried couples or those in a civil partnership can also apply to foster jointly.
The decision to become a foster carer is not one to be taken lightly, the work although rewarding, can also be demanding. More than any other experience in your life, becoming a foster carer will bring enormous changes for both you and your family.
All sorts of needs have to be taken into consideration when a foster child lives with you, such as:
- a nurturing environment
- contact with the birth family.
Most people are suitable to foster and we recognise that families come in all shapes and sizes.
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Fostering is welcoming a child, going through a difficult stage in their life, into your home. All children in care have very different needs and the type of support we offer them varies considerably. All sorts of children need loving, caring and safe environments to live in – brothers and sisters, teenagers, babies, children with disabilities and school age children.
Fostering need not be a 24 hour, seven day a week commitment. The most important thing for you as a potential foster carer is to find the right type of fostering that suits you and your family. The most important thing for us is to help children waiting to be fostered find a family who can care.
The types of fostering placements that East Riding of Yorkshire Council needs are:
Where parents are unable to look after their own children at all, and despite loving them, are unable to offer them a safe and secure home. Foster carers provide a safe and secure home where they can grow and reach their full potential, whilst allowing them the opportunity of contact with their birth family.
Ranging from an overnight stay to three months or longer, usually resulting from problems or illness in a family, or the child/children being harmed or abused. Foster carers provide a safe and secure home where they can help them understand what is happening and offer them support and reassurance.
Keeping children together when their families are under stress can really reduce the worry and upset they feel. For some children their sibling is the only stability they have ever known, and it is important that they retain this in their lives.
Teenagers need foster carers who are patient, understanding and flexible but also who are able to lay down clear boundaries. Young people often need help to develop the maturity and skills they need to organise their lives. Helping them to manage their feelings, emotions and behaviour, enjoy time with their family and friends, and to feel good about themselves and their achievements can make all the difference. Fostering teenagers may also mean that you will need to be involved with schools or colleges.
Parent and child arrangements
Being a parent is a daunting task. If you are young and alone having a baby on your own can be terrifying. Specially trained or experienced foster carers may provide this arrangement for parents (female or male).
Special needs and disabilities
Children with special needs, whether physical, behavioural or learning difficulties, require special love, care and attention.
Just one weekend a month or an occasional couple of weeks will give our value foster carers a well deserved and much appreciated break. Respite foster carers give children the chance to experience variety and make new friends.
Full support and training is provided for all foster carers.
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You can find out more about fostering by using the Foster carer enquiry form: Foster carer enquiry form (opens in new window)Top of page
Read our fostering stories
When I was 10 years old and my sister was 8, Mum and Dad asked us what we thought about having foster children come into the family. At first I felt a bit weird about it because I wondered if I wouldn’t get as much of their attention. I also wondered about what type of child we would get and would they accept me being disabled. Once I got over that, and everyone who came into the family accepted the fact I was in a wheelchair, I just thought, "Great! I have new brothers and sisters to play with."
I have my own sister, two more sisters and one brother, but they are all my family. It is exciting when a new person comes to live with us and there’s always a big welcoming committee. You just accept new people into the family because that’s the way my mum and dad work. Every person who comes through the door brings new opportunities and new experiences and I do think "am I going to like them?" When the kids are rude to my mum I think "how dare you say that to her", I will get the hump and retreat to my room when things get too much.
It does get a bit intrusive when there are surprise visits from the kids' social workers and it’s annoying when mum has to go to all these meetings. But I can honestly say the good things about gaining new brothers and sisters always outweighs the bad. I do feel incredibly lucky and proud that I have the parents I have; they really are wonderful people.
I think it is fantastic that my mum and dad open their house to care for other people’s children. I know they'll get all embarrassed about me saying that because they don’t think what they do is special or any different to anyone else.
Casey was 15 years old when she arrived on Helen and Gary's doorstep, frightened and apprehensive about what these foster carers would be like. Ten years on she is a confident, settled and talented young woman with a partner and daughter both of whom she adores.
Casey tells of the traumas she suffered between the ages of 10 and 15 years which resulted eventually in her moving from her birth family.
"I felt pushed out and rejected and so frightened that I would be killed that I even tried to commit suicide myself during that time.
"I knew that I was a difficult pupil – I couldn’t control my angry outbursts, but hated myself for being like that."
Her teachers knew that something was wrong and eventually Casey’s distress just spilt out and she told one of her teachers “who was fantastic and very supportive”.
It took Casey a long time to realise that her foster parents, Helen and her husband Gary, didn’t row and that she would always be safe and wanted in this family. Looking back Casey says: "All I want is a normal life, the ten years I’ve been part of Helen and Gary’s family has made me realise what a family is all about, just that they are there for you."
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Read our fostering stories
Rita and David
What interested us in fostering?
We wanted a challenge and something we could do together. David had wanted to foster when the children were younger. Also, we wanted to make a difference for some children who may have had an unfortunate start in life.
What do we love about fostering?
I love it when children who can be on a very limited diet when they first come end up eating every vegetable and fruit under the sun! I am thrilled when I see their little faces light up and they say they actually like something. I also love it when they run out of school at the end of the day and give you a big hug.
The challenge is when they first come into your home and they can have no boundaries, no routines. It is a major challenge to get those in place and enforce them. You have to be very clear, consistent and very patient.
Steve has been a foster carer for 15 years, and together with his wife they have fostered many boys and girls.
"My wife actually decided to find out about fostering and I must admit I wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy it - looking back that’s really surprising because now I know just how rewarding it is.
"You do have to think carefully about fostering though because it's a huge responsibility and it takes patience, but at the end of the day you're nurturing and developing children who have had a hard time. It's an experience that touches you and the people around you - you can't foster in isolation.
"We have a boy who is a long-term foster child and to see him grow and discover new things - ordinary things - is tremendous.
"We've also fostered a lot of older girls and prepared them for going it alone as adults and we have very good relationships with those foster children. They've stayed in touch and often pop in for a visit - I seem to spend a lot of my time
helping them move house while my wife is often called up for a chat!"
It is true that older children may not show their true feelings while they are staying with carers but the foster carers are often even more appreciated once the children
have moved on.
"I wouldn't hesitate to recommend fostering - you don't have to be wonderful, just a natural parent and maybe an optimist.
"One of our girls has four of her own children now and often asks my wife for advice - that's what makes it worthwhile, to see those children go on into adult life and think I helped them become the people they are today."
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East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s fostering team is committed to the needs of foster families and the children in their care. People interested in becoming foster carers for East Riding of Yorkshire Council are, in the first instance, provided with information to help them decide if fostering is right for their family. If you decide to embark on a fostering career you will have to undergo training and assessment before finally being approved as foster carers for East Riding for East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s fostering team.
- high-quality training
- comprehensive and dedicated support
- a designated social worker committed to each foster carers needs
- a generous payment to support the children while in the care of the foster family
- an additional financial allowance to match the growing skills of foster carers
- annual loyalty payment
- additional teenage payment
- regular events exclusively for our carers
- a bi-monthly magazine.
Professional support – with you every step of the way
Every child who is placed in care is allocated their own child care social worker, this is also true for every foster carer. Each foster carer is fully supported by a designated member of the fostering service who will be on hand to assist you in any way that they can. East Riding of Yorkshire Council also has access to other support services which you can call upon if you find that you need them throughout your fostering career.
Join our friendly support network
We have an extensive network of support groups which are attended by both foster carers and members of the fostering service. All new foster carers are encouraged to attend these groups, as they provide an invaluable source of information and moral support.
Fun days out and celebrating fostering
Foster families with East Riding of Yorkshire Council enjoy organised summer days out and an annual Christmas party. Foster carers enjoy helping out at events and are invaluable when sharing experiences with potential foster carers.
Excellent training, professionalising foster care
Recognising that fostering is very much a career, every foster carer will receive training both before and after they ‘qualify’ as a foster carer. Our ‘skills to foster’ training provides prospective foster carers with an insight into the role of foster care. All prospective carers will complete this training before being approved as a foster carer.
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Recognising that fostering is very much a career, every foster carer will receive training both before and after they 'qualify' as a foster carer. Our 'skills to foster' training provides prospective foster carers with an insight into the role of foster care.
All prospective carers will complete this training before being approved as a foster carer. All foster carers in England are required to progress to the post approval core training programme within the first year of approval, and complete the training, support and development standards for foster care.
There are further programmes of in house training and foster care development for carers who wish to improve their skills further.
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Foster carer payments
As part of the council’s commitment to its foster carers, East Riding of Yorkshire Council has developed a comprehensive payment system that both covers the cost of fostering a child and rewards its foster carers for their skills and professionalism. All foster carers will receive an allowance for looking after each child that is placed in their care.
We also provide opportunities for our foster carers to develop their skills and experience. This means that in addition to the allowance for the child, foster carers will receive a fee to reflect their developed skills. If you already have relevant skills and qualifications when approved, you may be able to receive a higher rate of fee from the point of approval.
Annual loyalty payment
We reward our foster carers with a loyalty payment of £410 when they have fostered with us for a year. This is payable each year following approval.
We understand that teenagers can sometimes be more demanding and to reflect this we pay an additional allowance for all children placed over 13 years old.
Further details of our payments can be found in our current information pack or you can contact us for further information.
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East Riding of Yorkshire Council runs several fostering information event road shows each year. The events provide potential carers with all the information to decide if fostering might be for them.
Come along and find out more in a friendly and informal atmosphere where you can:
- talk to fostering social workers and discuss your suitability as a foster carer further
- meet foster carers to discuss the ups, the downs and the huge rewards
- talk to some of our looked after young people and hear about their experiences
- chat to our training representative to find out about our training courses available and how you can progress your career as a foster carer
Information events are held approximately every 2 months, our next event will be on:
June 19 6pm
For further information or to book a place please contact us.
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Although it can initially appear quite a lengthy process, East Riding of Yorkshire Council aims to ensure that that the time from application to approval takes no more than 8 months. As we’re sure you’ll understand, the reason it takes this long is because vulnerable children and young people will be coming to live in your home and we have to be 100% sure that they’ll be safe, protected and well looked after.
You'll be asked to go through a process whereby your abilities as a potential foster carer will be assessed. You'll need to show that you have the skills required to care for other people's children and that you understand how it feels for children to be separated from their own families.
When you have completed the fostering enquiry form, the fostering service will begin the process of assisting you in your aim to become a foster carer.
Fostering Information Brochure (pdf 441kb opens in new window)
Training pathway (pdf 199kb opens in new window)
Initial visit or fostering information evening
The staff of the fostering service will give you more information about fostering and the children they place with families. This will take place either in your own home, or at one of our fostering information evenings. At this time you will be able to talk about yourselves and also ask any questions about fostering. This forum should identify any weak areas or stumbling blocks you will need to address.
You will complete this at the start of the assessment, along with criminal record bureau (CRB) forms and medical forms. We also ask you for the names of three people (one to be a family member) who are willing to act as confidential referees; they will need to know you well enough to talk about you in some depth to a member of the fostering service. You will also need a medical reference from your GP using your existing medical records and details from a medical examination. We will let you know when to arrange this.
If you are still interested in fostering, you will be invited to attend a training course called ‘the skills to foster’. This course focuses on a number of areas, such as why children require care, the law and children's needs. These six sessions are to give you more information about specific areas, but also to help you explore your own feelings and attitudes about these issues. The sessions are on evenings and weekends.
These will be asked for in the early stages. Most are simply by letter, except for the personal referees, who in addition to hearing from us by post, are visited later by a member of the fostering team. They are told that what they say is strictly confidential, and they are asked, amongst other things, whether they think a child would be safe in your family.
After the training course, you will be allocated a social worker from the fostering service, who will take you through the assessment and visit you at your home. Through the information obtained in these visits and the home assessment form, references and other evidence gathered, your social worker will write a very full profile and description of your family. The format for this report is called a 'form F'. You will read the ‘form F’ before it is presented to East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s foster panel, so that you know what is being said about you, and there is an opportunity for you to discuss the contents with your social worker.
Skills evidence portfolio
In line with government standards and expectations, prospective foster carers help to demonstrate their sensitivity to children’s needs by collecting evidence in a portfolio. There is a set of basic skills which forms the basis for initial competence as a foster carer. Your fostering social worker will help and advise with gathering evidence. The training course also looks at this. The fostering team leader will check the quality of the evidence before approval.
The foster panel comprises representatives from children’s services, health, education, councillors and an independent foster carer. The British Association for Fostering and Adoption 'form F’ is presented to the foster panel who will consider your application. You will be invited to attend and will be informed of the recommendation of the panel. The recommendation from the panel is considered by a senior officer delegated to be the agency ‘decision maker’ on behalf of the director of children, family and adult services for East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
Induction & agreement
Once a decision has been made and you are fully approved to act as a foster carer on behalf of East Riding of Yorkshire Council your fostering social worker will talk you through all the documents and information which you will need to know about for your new role. You will sign an agreement with the council which will set out clearly what the roles and responsibilities are of both parties.
Post approval training
Following the pre-approval training course - ‘skills to foster’ - all foster carers are required to progress to the post approval core training programme within their first year of becoming a foster carer and complete the training, support and development standards workbook. This workbook covers child development, play, attachment, education, communication and health.
Additionally, first aid and safeguarding board training is a requirement for all foster carers. As foster carers develop their skills through training and experience they will be financially rewarded and placed in a higher band stream. Eight months may seem like a long time to gain approval as a foster carer. However, you will appreciate that we need to be certain that you are fully prepared for your important role as a foster carer for East Riding of Yorkshire Council. This is a good timescale enabling you to gather all the information you will need before embarking on the most rewarding thing you will ever do.
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What other related services might I need to know about?
The following are related services and it may benefit you to visit their sections of the website for further information :
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Children may be brought up by members of their extended families, friends or other people who are connected with them for a variety of reasons and in a variety of different arrangements. This is called family and friends fostering.
This policy sets out the local authority's approach towards promoting and supporting the needs of such children, the assessments and how such services will then be provided.
Family and friends care policy (pdf: 66kb opens in new window) Top of page
Further information is also available on the following websites:
The fostering network (external website)
The British Association for Fostering and Adoption (external website)
Alternatively you can contact the fostering team.
Email: email@example.com or telephone (01482) 396644
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