Join our closeknit fostering community and we’ll support you from initial enquiry to foster family.
By providing our foster carers with the tools and support needed to succeed, at Foster Portsmouth we ensure the children and young people in their care have the chance to thrive and meet their potential. However, due to the continued national shortage of foster carers, we still need more loving homes in and around Portsmouth.
“I just love living here. If you’re thinking of being a foster carer, just do it
and someone will love living with you.”
Georgia, aged 15
If you decide to foster with us, you’ll be supported every step of the way. Starting from when you first make contact, through the assessment and panel stage, and then during each and every fostering arrangement. You will have access to all the help, local training and 24/7 support required to ensure you can help a child have a better future.
“The best thing about fostering with Foster Portsmouth is the community spirit
harnessed by this small but mighty local authority.”
Jo, foster carer
As a relatively small local authority, we’re able to keep children and young people within a familiar environment and close to any existing support networks. Our family-based strategy also creates an exceptional and welcoming community spirit and an extensive support network for children and foster carers alike.
Why choose Foster Portsmouth?
- * A ‘small but mighty’ local authority fostering service
- * Children stay local to family, friends, schools and community links
- * We know our carers, and children or young people individually
- * 24/7 wraparound support, mentoring scheme & the award winning Mockingbird model of care
- * Social events, a strong community spirit, respite care and extensive support network
- * Local training and ongoing professional development
- * Competitive financial package including allowances, skill fees and discounts/benefits
- * Diversity is welcomed and valued
- * Accelerated application and smooth transfer process
- * Regular placement opportunities with robust matching process increasing placement stability
“The foster carers are such amazing people and so supportive of each
other. Some will be lifelong friends.”
Glen & Ruth, foster carers
“I’m glad to be able to now work for the same authority that supported me. If it wasn’t for
being fostered, I might not have grown up with the care and attention I needed to thrive and succeed in life.”
Catherine, care leaver
A ‘small but mighty’ local authority fostering service
As a ‘small but mighty’ not-for-profit fostering service, we get to know our foster carers and the children or young people we look after, and they’re able to stay close to their families, friends, schools and community links.
As a result we’re able to build a strong closeknit community spirit, and our foster carers collaborate closely with social workers and the professionals involved in a child’s care and development.
“It really is a fostering community and everyone in it are genuinely lovely. It includes not just the support
of the social workers but also the other foster carers.”
Rachel and James, foster carers
As care leaver Catherine confirms: “The old saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ rang true for me and for many others that are being cared for.”
Our foster carers – many of which continue to foster for many years – all come from Portsmouth itself or the immediate surrounding areas, from Emsworth and Rowlands Castle to Gosport and Fareham, and Waterlooville and Petersfield to Havant and Hayling Island.
This allows us to provide local carers for local children and, wherever possible, to ensure they remain in a familiar environment enabling them to settle more easily and help preserve placement stability. It promotes time with birth family where appropriate which supports their well-being, and facilitates them being reunited where this is possible.
“Not only did I have the love and support of my foster family, but my birth family were
also a part of my life. This gave me continuity.”
Catherine, care leaver
“Foster Portsmouth are fair on [birth] parents… treating them with respect. I like the
fact that contact is supported when appropriate.”
Charlie, foster carer
Although we also pledge to do everything we can to keep sibling groups together, as a small local authority we can ensure they can remain within easy distance to visit and to maintain their relationship even if it does become necessary for siblings to be fostered in two homes, ensuring a sense of continuity and emotional support.
Foster carers Nina and Keith confirm: “It’s amazing the difference you can make, not just to the children in your care but also the families and yourselves.”
You’ll find the right fit of fostering for you
With Foster Portsmouth, you’ll find the right fit of fostering for you, your personal circumstances, experience and work commitments.
“It’s really enjoyable. We like young people, they have such potential and it’s just
fantastic to see them blossom with steady, supportive care.”
Kate, supported lodgings carer
Our foster carers come from all walks of life, and they all share the same commitment and motivation to make a positive difference to a child’s life.
There are a variety of fostering options available with short or long-term arrangements until they are ready to live independently or be reunited with family, support for unaccompanied children seeking asylum or children with additional needs, supported lodgings to develop their independent living skills, a parent and child placement, or respite care.
Regular placement opportunities with a robust matching process
During the assessment process, we’ll really get to know you and your family and will develop a strong understanding about your strengths and the children or young person who will be a good match for you, ultimately increasing placement stability.
When placing a child with a foster family, we consider a range of criteria to ensure the best match possible and secure its success. These include not only the age and gender of the child and those of the foster carer’s children, but also the number of children in the home, location, ethnicity and religion, as well as additional factors such as pets.
Birth children, pivotal to successful placements, are also included in the process throughout, and receive their own age appropriate advice and peer/foster community support.
“Our own daughter loves being part of a big family. She’s a great mentor and is very
much part of our fostering team.”
Nina and Keith, foster carers
“Fostering has also had a positive impact on our own children, teaching them the importance of sharing
time, empathy for others and understanding that everybody’s experiences are different.”
Rachel and James, foster carers
However, the most important consideration is the individual needs of the child and a foster carer’s skills and experience.
As part of a local authority team, Foster Portsmouth foster carers are busy members with regular placements resulting in few gaps in between unless they choose to take a break.
At Foster Portsmouth, we recognise that support is vital and we’re proud to offer our foster carers an extensive range of support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This support is available at every stage of the process via an extensive support network and mentoring scheme, as well as the pioneering, award-winning Mockingbird model of care.
“There is always someone on the end of the phone and there’s an out of hours contact number. The
support is endless, everywhere you turn there are different directions for help if you need it.”
Rachel & James, foster carers
As a valued foster carer with Portsmouth City Council, you’ll benefit with support close to home from your assessing social worker during the application process and then, in addition to the child’s social worker, you’ll have a dedicated supervising social worker providing you with support, advice and encouragement throughout your fostering journey. You’ll also have access to a skilled team of professionals specialising in health and education, including child and adolescent mental health.
“My social worker is so in tune with our needs and is always aware of the training and support I need to fulfil my role.”
Sandy, foster carer
Supported Lodgings carers Tamara and Menno have received continued support from Foster Portsmouth via out of hours social workers as well as their own supervising social worker who they meet regularly. Tamara shared, “She is my sounding board and my adviser. No question or worry is too trivial for her, and she ensures that my queries and concerns are addressed promptly. She is always my first port of call.”
Foster carer Zhoura agreed: “There is such an amazing support network and so much training. I have my own social worker who is a regular visitor and the child has a social worker as well,” Zhoura confirms. “It’s really important to have a social worker because sometimes you may be struggling or you need to know about courses you need to go on. They’re there to support you.”
“There is also support via the foster carer mentoring scheme, whereby an experienced foster carer
supports a newly approved carer for a period of time.”
Jo, foster carer
Carers can also be linked to an experienced foster carer mentor to act as a ‘buddy’, have access to an out-of-hours support service, and benefit from our foster carer liaison group advocating on their behalf, as well as other support groups. They may also receive respite care to ensure the wellbeing of foster families as well as the children in their care.
“I get a lot of support from Foster Portsmouth and there is a good support network including level
three and unaccompanied children seeking asylum carer groups.”
Rachel, foster carer
Foster carers will become part of a strong network of likeminded people who are sharing the same experiences and challenges as you, and be able to provide a community to lean on.
In addition to foster carers training, their own children will receive age appropriate advice and support, as well as the peer and other foster family support if they are part of one of our Mockingbird constellations.
Mockingbird model of care
This pioneering foster care model is a wraparound support service prioritising placement stability by offering the relationships and vital additional support akin to an extended family.
The model’s ‘constellations’ consist of six to ten fostering families with a skilled foster carer serving as a specifically recruited and trained ‘hub carer’ at the centre offering vital peer support and guidance, as well as additional respite care in the form of sleepovers and social activities.
“I enjoy coming to Mockingbird events because it’s fun. There’s a lot of stuff to do and
I get to hang out with friends I have met there.”
Ashley, aged 15
“Our home acts as the hub, so our door is always open. Mockingbird enables
foster carers to support each other and for the children to feel part of an
Aly & Lee, hub carers
“My hub provide a massive amount of support and camaraderie, and I’ve made
lifelong friendships with the other foster carers within my hub.”
Amanda, satellite foster carer
This innovative and sustainable programme empowers families to support each other and overcome any challenges before they develop. It has also shown significant benefits to the lives of children and young people by normalising foster care, minimising placement disruption and building positive links with other families.
It strengthens relationships and permanence, provides the chance for children to develop rapport with trusted adults and other young people in care, and delivers secure and stable foster families avoiding the breakdown of relationships.
Social and activity events
Our dedicated Mockingbird hub carers, committed team of social care practitioners and ‘virtual school’ colleagues arrange regular social events and activities to support our foster families and the children in their care, and to provide them with an opportunity to celebrate, provide mutual support and relax together as a community.
“We love going on days out and meeting other families who understand. The child in your care
doesn’t feel like the only child in that situation and they’re celebrated.”
Rowshonara, foster carer
These events – which range from panto trips, carer lunches and picnics to activity days and sailing trips – build relationships, help the children reach their potential, offer mutual support and foster our distinctive community spirit.
“Foster Portsmouth celebrate the children’s success, especially the day to Paulton’s Park.
The children I look after still talk about that day!”
Darren, foster carer
Local training and professional development
In addition to our family-based strategy, our success in retaining our dedicated team stems from our investment in our foster carers. This enables carers to successfully support the children in their care and to progress and develop as a foster carer.
“We’ve had a lot of good training including safeguarding and managing adverse childhood experiences.”
Maria and Rob, supported lodgings carers
We provide ongoing professional development, building on existing skills. This is delivered through a comprehensive, personalised training programme ranging from therapeutic care, birth family contact support and safeguarding training, through to behaviour management, reporting and recording, and practical skills such as first aid.
“Training is one of the outstanding attributes. There is regular statutory training, but for anyone
who wishes to progress their foster care career there are many diverse additional training courses.”
Jo, foster carer
Foster carer Rachel shared: “I always like to progress and, in the past, expanded into providing emergency care and trained to become a level three carer which qualified me to care for children who have experienced extreme trauma. This level also qualifies carers for caring for children and young people with complex needs.
Training – delivered by our welcoming and experienced trainers – starts during the assessment period, continues before your first placement and is sustained throughout your fostering journey to ensure you’re equipped for any challenges that may arise. Training is also local to minimise travel, expense and disruption to day-to-day family commitments.
Where diversity is welcomed and valued
Our foster families come in all forms. Just as every child is unique, every foster carer is unique too.
Foster Portsmouth continue to need more foster carers from diverse backgrounds to reflect the children and young people from Portsmouth who come from a wide variety of different cultures, backgrounds and walks of life. Therefore, we aim to continue to grow the diversity of our exceptional team of carers, particularly to secure the best placement matches for the children and young people in our care.
“We like diversity amongst our carers. All you need is a spare
bedroom and a passion to help local children.”
Ruth and Glen, foster carers
Anyone aged 21+ with a spare bedroom could foster with Foster Portsmouth regardless of their age, gender, sexuality, faith, ethnicity, marital or work status, or whether they rent or own their own home.
Competitive financial package
Whilst all our foster carers’ main motivation is making a difference to vulnerable children’s lives, they naturally also need to consider how they will be able to continue to manage their household finances.
Foster Portsmouth offer a competitive financial package made up of allowances and skill fees, reflecting how highly we value our carers. Our foster carers receive a steady and dependable income that enables them to concentrate on providing a loving home for the children in their care.
“There’s good financial support from Portsmouth City Council.”
Zhoura, foster carer
A weekly allowance is received for each child to cover costs of housing, clothing and feeding the child/ren, as well as incidentals such as pocket money.
Foster carers also receive set allowances to cover additional costs including caring for a child over Christmas and other significant religious festivals, and school breaks, as well as their birthdays. They can also claim back certain expenses including mileage for the child/ren and training/meetings.
Foster carers Tony and Patsy confirm: “We get our fostering allowance with helps pay for bills, clothing and clubs for the children. If you’re going on holiday you can also get help to pay for the child’s part, and help to pay for extra activities if it’s of benefit to the child such as the latest summer camp or something like that.”
In addition to fostering allowances, carers with the necessary skills and experience to care for children with more complex needs will receive additional weekly skill fees. Others will have the opportunity, with ongoing professional training, to gain additional expertise to progress to higher skill levels.
Additional discounts and benefits
As a Foster Portsmouth foster carer, you’ll be eligible for an extensive range of additional discounts and benefits, as well as support with any necessary equipment such as cots or prams.
“Foster Portsmouth offer free activities throughout the year, especially around the holidays. They’ve got clubs for bowling
and things like that, and help with discounts [at venues]. I don’t feel like we’re really out of pocket.”
Tony and Patsy, foster carers
You’d benefit from tax relief and exemptions, as well as access to Portsmouth City Council staff benefits, and discounts from schemes such as the Portsmouth Leisure Card which offers free or discounted entry to local activities, entertainment and attraction venues including sports centres, swimming pools and golf courses, the Historic Dockyard, museums/city arts, beach huts, Southsea skatepark and the Andrew Simpson Centre.
“Portsmouth foster carers are also recognised as front line care workers and, as such, can apply for
the Blue Light Card scheme that provides various retail or commercial discounts for carers.”
Jo, foster carer
Our ‘recommend a friend’ scheme enables our carers with great contacts to earn £500 from each successful introduction of other potential new carers or transfers to Foster Portsmouth.
As a foster carer with Portsmouth City Council, you’ll also receive free membership to The Fostering Network and all of the further support and benefits that come with it. These include an online community of foster care members, independent member advice helpline, online resources/training, additional events featuring expert speakers, discount days out, holidays and insurance, as well as a confidential stress counselling service, legal helpline and protection insurance, and quarterly magazine packed with inspirational articles.
Accelerated application and transfer processes
At Foster Portsmouth we’re able to offer an efficient, accelerated application or transfer process. Completion for new applications can be from as little as 16 weeks, and for transfers from other fostering services from as little as 6 weeks. Foster carer Simon confirmed: “Portsmouth City Council push through the applications.”
“I have transferred during lockdown and I am so impressed with the service and treatment I’ve received with Foster
Portsmouth! I have had a completely different experience from first point of contact through to placing and support.”
Sarah, foster carer
“Transferring to Portsmouth City Council was the best decision we have made. The quality of support is so much
better, and the matching process is all about ensuring the placement succeeds.”
Sam, foster carer
We understand changing foster agencies is a big decision. If you are considering transferring from your current independent fostering agency or local authority, we’ll be able to fast-track you through the system and aim to make the process as straight-forward as possible.
If you already have a child you are caring for, we work in combination with your existing agency and the relevant local authority to ensure you and the child or young person are fully supported.
Recognising our foster families’ contributions
Our foster carers play a vital role in the development of our service, decision making and are a respected member of our committed ‘team around the child’. They work with other professionals to ensure each child in our care is supported and cared for. Foster carer David agrees: “Foster carers are invited to participate in the shaping of the service. We always feel included as a part of the team.”
We’re take pride in our friendly and constructive relationships with social work practitioners, schools, birth families, specialised therapists, CAMHS and our own virtual school, and our foster carers are key to this success.
“I feel like the service is child centred. All departments seem to work towards what the children
want or need, making sure they have the right support.”
Louise, foster carer
“Fostering has benefited me by teaching me to share. My foster brother is funny, caring, nice, gentle, loyal
and fun to be with. I really love my foster brother. He means so much to me.”
Tilly, birth child aged 11
We take opportunities to recognise and celebrate the achievements of foster carers, their families and all the children in their care. This includes the birth children of foster carers who report back to us on how fostering has enriched their lives; by gaining social skills, learning about different upbringings and cultures, changing lives for the better, and often building lifelong friendships.
Enabling you to make a difference to a child’s life
Fostering is an incredible and inspiring vocation. One that allows children and young people in need from our city to thrive and directly changes outcomes for them.
Whether you’re able to offer a child a more stable home, help them continue their education, facilitate time with their birth family, or ensure their wellbeing emotionally, you’ll discover the rewards of fostering with Foster Portsmouth time and again.
“[Fostering] gave me another shot at my life which I am so grateful for
and I can now see a successful future.”
Wayne, care leaver, aged 19
“Fostering is a wonderful experience. It gives you the chance to meet and help young people
but also join the most supportive Foster Portsmouth family of other foster carers and
professionals who all have the same passion.”
Rachel and James, foster carers
“Go for it. You have nothing to lose but very much to gain. My life has been so much more enriched
and colourful for all the experiences I’ve had with fostering for Foster Portsmouth.”
Jo, foster carer
It is never too late to make a difference to young lives, provide them with opportunities, and help them ultimately reach their potential, and Foster Portsmouth will be there every step of the way to enable you to change young lives.
Join the Foster Portsmouth family…
If you have room in your heart and your home, make Foster Portsmouth your foster service of choice and join our remarkable and dedicated fostering community.
“We’re glad we made the move to Foster Portsmouth as there’s more support available
and it’s nice to feel you’re supporting your local community.”
Wendy and Guy, foster carers
Make a difference to their lives… and yours.
To enquire or to arrange a 1:1 with one of our team or experienced foster carers, please fill in our contact form: www.foster.portsmouth.gov.uk/enquire-now/ or call 023 9283 4071.
Some names have been changed and stock images used to protect privacy.
Learn more about our virtual school which ensures that all children and young people in our care have educational provision that meets their need and that they receive the support they need to fulfil their potential including holistic opportunities and development: www.portsmoutheducationpartnership.co.uk/inclusion/the-virtual-school.