An Introduction to Fostering

Fostering is a way of providing a family life for children and young people who can’t live with their parents or wider family.

  • It can be used to provide safe, high quality, temporary care for children while their parents are receiving help to sort out their problems which has led to them being unable to care for their children, or in some cases it is for a longer periods of time.
  • Many children will return home once any problems are resolved. Others may stay long-term in foster care, or will be adopted, or placed under other permanent arrangements, whilst older young people will move on to live independently.
  • All carers receive a generous allowance to cover the expenses for each child placed with them; they have the support of their supervising social worker (a qualified and experienced social worker); their fostered child’s social worker as well as 24-hour support out of hours.

To get information on the Fostering process, please see our Fostering Process flow chart.

If you would like more information about becoming a foster carer please contact the Fostering Team.

Email us for an info pack

What is a foster carer?

  • A foster carer is a front line professional who looks after someone else’s child in their own home, with the full support of our Fostering and Children’s Teams. The fostering could be for anything from a few days to several months.
  • A foster carer encourages children to reach their full potential by supporting their educational, social, emotional and health needs and by providing them with a really positive role model.

What are the rewards?

  • The most important reward is that you will be making a difference to a child who really needs it.
  • Financially you will receive a generous fostering allowance for each child in placement and may be eligible to come onto one of our fee paid schemes as your career develops.
  • You will receive continuous professional development through courses and independent study and, personally, you will meet other like mind people through the Southend Foster Families Council who hold regular events, coffee mornings and professional meetings to support you in your fostering task.
  • You will be supported by a supervising social worker and have access to 24-hour support, 365 days a year.

Private Fostering

If you are looking after somebody else’s child through a private arrangement and they are not looked after by us or a close relative, then you may be Privately Fostering which is different from fostering for us.

For more information, see our Private Fostering page.

HM Revenue & Customs' Digital Educational Products

HM Revenue & Customs’ Digital Educational Products for Foster carers has been created to help carers understand what they need to know about:

  • tax
  • national insurance
  • expenses
  • record keeping.

The e-learning packages are modular, self-learning products which can be accessed at any time. Foster carers can complete the learning at their own pace with learning checks throughout the packages and options to go back, restart, or return to specific chapters at any time.

There are also live and pre-recorded webinars (online seminars) which have been designed specifically for prospective carers, or those who have been approved as carers. Foster carers can find out about what self-employment means to them, how to use qualifying care relief, keeping records, and what to put on their tax return. The live and pre-recorded webinars for carers can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Page last updated: 10/04/2019