Have you ever considered becoming a foster carer? Here's how you could give a child or young person a loving home with Foster with Bromley.

Bromley fostering is looking for people just like you who are interested in providing a vulnerable child with a caring home. 

If you are over 21, own or rent your home (and have a spare bedroom), you can become a foster carer regardless of whether you are single, living with a partner, or are married.

A spokesperson for Foster with Bromley commented: "We want the very best for our children and young people and we are looking for people just like you to help us.

News Shopper: Can you give a child or young person a loving home?Can you give a child or young person a loving home? (Image: Foster With Bromley)

"We know that fostering is immensely rewarding for both our foster carers and our children.

"When these vulnerable children experience a caring family and can at last thrive and develop their potential in a loving and nurturing home it can really give them an amazing start to their life."

The fostering service provides full training and support so that you are fully prepared to take on this challenging but equally rewarding task.

Here's everything you need to know from what fostering is to what the process looks like.

What is fostering?

Being a foster carer means providing a family for a baby, child or young person whose family can no longer look after them.

There are different types of foster care - some are for short periods of just a few days and others can be for longer periods until the child or young person reaches adulthood.

Our foster carers come from all walks of life just like the children and young people who they care for.

In return for fostering for Bromley you'll receive excellent training and support and a weekly professional fostering fee and maintenance allowance.

The maintenance allowance covers the full cost of looking after a child, including a contribution to household expenses, leisure, clothes and transport.

News Shopper: 7 steps to becoming a foster carer (Foster With Bromley)7 steps to becoming a foster carer (Foster With Bromley) (Image: Foster With Bromley)

How do you become a foster carer?

The road to becoming a foster carer isn't easy - Bromley is looking for the very best for its children and young people. 

However, if it's something you are committed to, there is a clear process to follow.

After filling out the below contact form and having an initial conversation, Bromley Fostering will need the following information from you:

  • your full name, address and date of birth
  • details of your health, supported by a medical report
  • details of any other adults that live with you
  • details of any children in your family (whether or not they live with you) and any other children in the home
  • details of your home & accommodation
  • the outcome of any previous request or application made by you or any member of your household to foster or adopt children, or for registration as a childminder
  • the name and address of any fostering service you have been an approved foster carer for in the preceding 12 months
  • names of two people to provide personal references
  • the information we need to carry out an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for you and each member of your household aged 18 or over [find out more about DBS checks]
  • details of any current or previous marriage, civil partnership or similar relationship

Initial home visit

If after those stages, you and Bromley Fostering both agree to go ahead, they will come out to visit you at home.

The point of the home visit is to discuss:

  • Why you want to become a foster carer and which groups of children and young people you feel able to foster
  • The health and safety aspects of your home, and the suitability of the accommodation offered
  • Any questions you may have about the Assessment and Approval process, including timescales
  • The support, including financial support, you will receive
  • Your views on how to manage children’s behaviour

News Shopper: You can foster with Bromley. (Foster With Bromley)You can foster with Bromley. (Foster With Bromley) (Image: Foster With Bromley)

What checks and references are needed to foster a child?

Bromley Fostering will then carry out a number of checks and follow up on the references that you provided them.

This is done by law and they hope you understand how necessary this is given the importance of the task you are committing to.

They will then collect some more information from you, including:

  • details of your personality
  • your religious beliefs and capacity to care for a child with different religious beliefs
  • your racial origin, cultural and linguistic background, and capacity to care for a child from any particular racial origin or cultural or religious background
  • past and present employment or occupation, standard of living, leisure activity and interests
  • your previous experience (if any) of caring for your own and other children
  • your skills, competence and potential to care effectively for a child placed with you

What training and preparation do you get before becoming a foster carer?

As part of the fostering process, you will be assigned to a training and reparation group for three separate days.

The purpose of the group is to give you an opportunity to:

  • learn about the role of foster carers, as well as contribute your ideas and opinions to group discussions
  • meet with others at a similar stage, share your concerns and learn together about parenting a foster child
  • learn new skills and improve existing ones through a variety of means including learning materials, case material, meeting foster carers, videos and presentations
  • consider more thoroughly the reasons children come into care, the impact of this on their development, their attitude to birth families and the importance of valuing children’s families and friends
  • understand how a vulnerable child, who may be distressed, confused and anxious can behave and the best strategies for dealing with this
  • discuss how to deal with contact with a foster child’s family in a positive way
  • help you explore what you can offer to children needing foster placements and the categories of children that Bromley needs to find foster families for
  • find out about the support services available to you and your families throughout your Assessment and beyond, and introduce you to key contacts in other services such as education and health
  • confirm that fostering is right for you

Is there an assessment to become a foster carer?

You and your fostering social worker will complete a detailed assessment throughout the process.

They will work through any issues which arise with you and may give you suggestions for how you can gather more experience with children and young people, if necessary.

There will be a series of 'home study' meetings as part of the assessment which are centred on roughly six to eight interviews, some of which will take place in your home.

They include joint and family interviews about your background and life experiences, and you and all other members of your household, including any children, will be talked to individually.

News Shopper: Are you interested in becoming a foster carer? (Bromley)Are you interested in becoming a foster carer? (Bromley) (Image: Bromley)

What is the approval process to become a foster carer?

Every fostering agency has to have a Fostering Panel which is made up of people with wide experience in fostering, who oversee their fostering duties.

As part of their work, the Fostering Panel makes recommendations regarding the suitability of prospective foster carers to foster, usually including which type of fostering they are suitable for.

All the information about you from the assessment is gathered together in a detailed report - this is called the BAAF Form F.

The report is presented by your social worker, and ideally you, to Bromley’s Fostering Panel. 

The panel’s recommendation regarding your approval will be passed on to Bromley’s Fostering Decision Maker, who, as their title suggests, makes the final judgment.

How long does it take to become a foster carer?

The fostering service aims to complete all applications and assessments within 16 weeks.

If they expect that your application will take longer, they will let you know.

First steps to becoming a foster carer

If you want to get the fostering process started, you can fill out the contact form now

The foster service will give you a call when it’s convenient for you, answer your questions and get the process started.

For more information, visit the Bromley website.