Frequently Asked Questions


Here you can find some frequently asked questions. For more information call us on 02380 230400 and ask as many questions as you need to. Please also see Foster Care Myths which may already cover some of your queries.


Undoubtedly fostering will affect your child one way or another, so we take this very seriously. We believe every child is different, and will ensure your child’s individual circumstances and feelings are carefully considered.

When adults make a decision to become foster carers they also make the decision for their children to become part of a family that fosters. Fostering is a very significant change in anyone’s life, even more so for the children within the family. Children, even within the same family, will often have very different views about the prospect of becoming a family that fosters, so it is imperative that they are listened to and agree with the decision to foster, should you continue.

Sharing their home with a stranger is a huge issue for birth children and yet foster carers’ children often determine how successful placements are. As with all families, there will be arguments and disagreements, however fostering families also have lots of fun, make positive relationships and collect fond memories. Typically, your children’s privacy may be invaded, belongings may be borrowed without permission, they may even feel that they have had less of your attention because you foster. They also have to cope with the uncertainty of fostering; the child that has come to live with them and has become their friend, may suddenly be able to return home. They will almost certainly miss them….even if the foster child had caused them some troubles.
Birth children will often benefit through getting to know children from very different backgrounds, and many will start to appreciate the advantage they have themselves, of a secure and loving family.
They may also learn more patience, tolerance and understanding of others. Fostering involves everyone in the household and relies on working together within the family, with Fair Ways Foster care team and with other professionals to make it a success.

Our advice is to talk to your birth children regularly throughout the application process, and to make a point of having regular ‘family members only’ time to talk and reflect on how being a foster family could affect you all, and how any difficulties that arise might be addressed. As part of the foster carer assessment process, your social worker will talk with your children on their own, which gives them the best opportunity to say what they really think about the idea of fostering. Our social worker will also try to evaluate how realistic their expectations are and how difficult or easily they might adapt to life within a family that fosters.

Don’t be surprised if children change from being very keen to foster, to hating it, and then back again. Particularly in the early stages when the expectations of the children come up against the realities of the situation. This is fairly typical and our support staff and social worker will help the carers to help their birth child overcome any difficulties.
If you decide to apply to be a foster carer, birth children will have easy access to the family’s Fair Ways Foster Care Supervising Social Worker as well as contact with other young people who foster.

Birth children support groups provide support and the chance to share their experiences by meeting others in similar situations. You should also bear in mind that many children will not want to tell their parents about their problems with fostering, as to do so might be seen by some as letting their parents down. Please make very real efforts to find out how they are feeling and coping with fostering. Above all, keep open communications to prevent any difficulties becoming major obstacles.

Fostered children can age from newborn up to 18 years old.
No! Foster carer’s are ordinary people who had an interest in helping children and their families overcome difficulties in their lives. You will need patience, empathy and be able to understand the feelings of children who have been experiencing crisis or abuse. Resilience and a good sense of humour are essential qualities as is working as part of a team. Our excellent training and ongoing support will develop your skills and qualities continuously. Fairways Foster Care will hold your hand every step of the way and our Collective Caring ethos shares responsibilities for positive outcomes in your fostering career.
Following your enquiry, initial home visit and application, the assessment process usually takes 3-5 months. Your will also complete Skills to Foster course within this time frame.
Fairways Foster Care is an Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) which is a private company who works in partnership with Local Authorities and Health Trusts to provide and support fostering placements.
Fairways Foster Care is expert in their field. This expertise derives from two of its Directors being approved foster carers themselves! This unique understanding has allowed us to develop an unparalleled support network for our foster carers and the children/young people they care for. Our passion and hands on knowledge continues right throughout our team which supports our carers from the initial enquiry stage onwards in their challenging role. We have our own foster carers, social workers, therapists, support workers, education staff who support the needs of placed children and foster carers within our ethos of Collective Caring. You get supported 24/7 by staff who know you and your placed child.
We fully appreciates the demanding career choice our carers make and reward them with the highest financial remuneration package in the South UK region. Local Authorities or Health Trusts are ultimately responsible for the wellbeing of all children in public care and we work very closely with them to provide the best possible standard of care.
Part of the assessment process is to carry out Criminal Records or Disclosure checks, as well as checks with the Local Authority, Health Service, Education Department and a register which lists people prevented from working with children. We also carry out standard safety check on your home. Fairways Foster Care will also request references from employers and personal references from 2 people who have known you for over 5 years. Partners of applicants will also have the necessary checks and training, even if they are not the main carer as they will have varying forms of involvement and an impact of the task of fostering. We also will carry out checks on any other adult members of your household to satisfy any possible safety concerns.
Fairways Foster Care believes that the best care for a placed child can only be achieved by having one carer at home full time. Fostering is a career choice with a generous financial remuneration package which reflects a carer’s commitment. However, in some circumstance, you may be able to continue to work, dependent on your situation. An example of this may be a home run business. We can explore this further on an individual basis.
Yes. Some people choose fostering as a new career change. You will have to demonstrate that you are managing financial commitments and have no financial arrears that may cause instability to any placement, for example, rent/mortgage arrears etc.
During your assessment process you will fully discuss and explore what childs needs you can best meet with your social worker. This may include access to your home etc. If a child has ongoing medical needs you will receive all the assistance necessary. This may include providing specialist equipment or training. Much of this will be covered in Skills to Foster training. You have a choice of taking a possible placement or not, and will be able to get all the necessary information prior to a decision being taken.
No, but every foster child is facing a crisis in their life and clearly this is upsetting for them. They have had to cope with moving out of their own home, separation from their families, friends and pets. They may also be dealing with painful past experiences. Some children cannot verbally express their complex feelings and may present behavior in an effort to express anxieties/fears/trauma. This can range hugely, and like other children, they will have behaviours relating to their age, experiences, understanding and development. Some may have difficulties sleeping, have developed eating disorders or be withdrawn and mistrust adults. Others may try to hurt themselves or lie or engage in other negative behaviours to communicate their unhappiness. Whatever the behavior, with the right carer and the support of our professional team, vast improvements can be made with stability, consistency and positive behavior management. Our track record proves this time and time again! Fairways Foster Care believe that every child has the right to a positive family experience which can shape their future success in life.
Quite often there will be contact with the child’s natural parents, dependent on the reasons they have been fostered. Some children will have siblings that are living with other foster carer’s if they cannot be placed altogether. Sometimes for reasons of safety, visits will be at a contact centre and be supervised. Other situations may need you to facilitate visits in your home. Visits, emails and phone call arrangements will be discussed individually with your social worker and yourself for each placement.
Our foster carers live in all kinds of home, from large detached houses to two bedroom flats. All foster children will need their own bedroom and space for their own personal possessions.
It is imperative that your whole family living with you, especially your children, if you have any, agree and want to foster. This is vital to successful fostering. Much of this will be fully explored and discussed with your social worker during the initial visits, assessment process and training.
You will be classed as self employed as a foster carer, and in the UK, do not pay tax on your income from fostering, up to a maximum of £10,000 plus allowances. Most of our carers employ an accountant who will be aware of all the tax advantages of fostering. Please see tax link: www.hmrc.gov.uk/individuals/foster-carers.htm for further advice.
Fostering has transformed the lives of some neglected and vulnerable children/young people. At Fairways Foster Care our carers have made huge positive differences to a child/young person life and have prompted significant progress in child’s well being, emotional stability and personal growth. Here is quote from one of our carer’s, which says it all better than we could! “I was very nervous when we had our first placed child, still wondering what the reality would be following all the training and assessment. I soon realised that simply the stability of being there for a child helped start the trust for them. The day to day care, record keeping, visits, meetings and things soon became part of our household routine. Some of the children were clearly traumatised and some would push boundaries to the limit. I have asked myself sometimes if I had done the right thing but when you start to see positive changes, no matter how small, it makes it all worth every minute of your time and patience. Fostering isn’t an easy job, but the rewards are priceless”.