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Why foster?

Choose a category below to quickly find the information you need.

Step 1: If you would like to know more

When you call 023 9283 4071 you will reach a friendly team. If you are looking for more information, want to chat over your personal circumstances or are ready to apply to foster we will be happy to help you.

At this stage we will ask a bit about you – why you want to foster and how you feel a foster child will fit into your life. We will ask some questions about your home, your family, what you do and your experience of children and young people. We will aim to answer any questions you have to help you decide if you want to go onto the next stage.

Short term foster care

Short term fostering placements are for children and young people who require temporary care. Often this is because their families are unable to look after them during a particular time. This could be because their parents are unwell or unable to cope at that time. Alternatively the family may be going through care proceedings – so a child might go into foster care in the short term while decisions are being made about who will look after them in the future.

The length of a short term fostering placement can vary significantly, depending on the individual circumstances of the child. The placements could be as short as an emergency overnight stay, a few weeks or as long as a number of months up to two years.

Compared to other kinds of fostering placements short term carers often have higher levels of contact with the children’s birth family whilst assessments are underway, and can also be involved in introducing children to their new adoptive families. Part of your role will be to support the child to move on.

Do I need a spare room?

Yes, foster children and young people need their own bedroom although brothers and sisters may be able to share a bedroom.

Being part of the team

When a child is looked after, they are taken into the care of their local authority who is responsible for making sure that the child receives the care that is appropriate. As part of the local authority Portsmouth Fostering Service works closely with the child’s social worker to place the child with the best match foster family for the child’s needs.

Portsmouth foster carers are busy people whose services are used frequently so there are few gaps between any placements unless the foster carer chooses to take a break. Portsmouth foster carers are respected as part of the local authority ‘team around the child’ and play a vital role in making the right decisions for a child, right from the start of planning for the child’s future.

Step 2: Meeting you at home

A member of the fostering team will visit you at home at a time convenient for you. A home visit will last about an hour and a half to two hours and will include a look around your home and garden. The home visit is about getting to know more about you and your family and assessing if you and your home are able to provide a safe and caring environment for a foster child.

It is also an opportunity for you to get to know more about fostering and Foster Portsmouth and what we can offer you should you decide to become a foster carer with us. As everyone in the household is involved in the decision to foster it is important to involve your children and wider family at an early stage.

The home visit is a good place to talk about how fostering might affect your own children and to answer any questions your children may have. The home visit will answer any questions and explore any concerns you have such as any health issues or previous contact with social services or the police. Together we will decide whether or not to continue with your enquiry to the next stage of the assessment process.

We will make sure that both you, and we, are happy to proceed.

Permanent / Long Term Foster Care

Long term foster placements give children an opportunity to live in a stable foster placement with a committed carer until they reach adulthood. Long term fostering gives children a sense of consistency and belonging, helping them to developing positive new relationships and build links within their local community.

Long term foster carers offer the permanent one-to-one support and care that these young people need to thrive. This type of care is a long term commitment and you need to be willing to stick by them through the good and bad times until adulthood. You really could make a difference to their future.

You need to embrace them as another member of your family while recognising that they still have a relationship with their birth family. Long term fostering can appear to be very similar to adoption however unlike adoption a child in care with you on a long term foster placement will remain the legal responsibility of the local authority. With adoption, the legal responsibilities for the child are transferred to their adoptive parents.

Do I need previous child care experience

Yes, we are looking for foster carers who have experience of caring for or working with children, either as a parent or in a voluntary or professional capacity. If you do not have any experience why not consider contacting a local school, or youth club like Scouts or Guides to gain experience though volunteering.

Helping the child achieve

An important consideration in placing children is to try and keep them, where it is safe to do so, in a familiar environment. A child will be better able to cope with the stressful change of moving to live with a new family if they are able to continue their education in familiar surroundings and see their friends and family and keep doing their usual activities.

This is much easier with a local placement in the local area, and that’s why Portsmouth City Council needs more foster carers in Portsmouth and surrounding areas to make sure children can stay local and have the best start in their lives..

Training

As a Portsmouth foster carer you will be offered a wide range of training to help you support the children in your care and to enable you to progress and develop as a foster carer Training is an important part of the support we provide and Portsmouth is committed to your on-going professional development.

Training topics include:

– managing behavior
– safeguarding
– safer caring
– reporting and recording
– team around your Portsmouth child
– first aid

Step 3: Assessment

Everyone who wants to become a foster carer has to go through a formal assessment. You will be invited to make a formal application and to give written consent for the required checks and references. If at any stage you or your family decide fostering is not for them you can withdraw your application and we will stop your assessment. The assessment to become a foster carer is a two stage process.

Stage 1 includes the collection of information from checks and references and your attendance at a preparation to foster training course. Stage 2 includes the writing of an assessment report evidencing your suitability to foster. The assessment report is undertaken as a series of home visits by a fostering social worker who is allocated to carry out your assessment.

In order to progress to stage 2 you must successfully complete stage 1.

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