Frequently Asked Questions
Am I too old to be a foster carer?
Although there is not a legal upper age limit, being a foster carer is demanding and you need to be able to demonstrate the energy, emotional and physical health to care for a child or children until they are ready to leave your home independently.
Is my relationship status important?
No. It doesn’t matter whether you are single, married or in a partnership. However we do ask that any couples have been together for at least three years and can provide evidence that they have a stable and enduring relationship that is likely to last through a child’s upbringing and beyond.
Are foster carers paid?
Yes, PACT pays a professional fee to its foster carers, which also includes a personal allowance for the young person’s care and personal expenses. This is currently £335.70 a week for one child and £604.35 for two children. This allowance will be reviewed at the end of every financial year.
Does it matter if I have children already?
No, some children will be happier in a large family, some need the individual attention only available to single children. If you have children they will need to be fully involved in the process, as having another child or children in their home will affect their lives too. We would expect any children in the family to be at least 3 – 4 years older than a child to be fostered. Many looked after children need to be the youngest in the family, so we would not be considering families who have young children under 13, for permanent fostering. Families offering short term breaks would need to discuss their family composition with the fostering service.
Will a criminal offence stop me from becoming a foster carer?
PACT looks at individual circumstances. However, you will not be able to become a foster carer if you have any criminal offence against children.
Will I receive support and training?
Yes, we have a carers' support group which meets every 6 weeks, and your own dedicated social worker who will supervise and support your work. You will also be required to take an active part in training workshops to develop your skills and professionalism.
Can I be a foster carer if I smoke?
No, PACT is aware of the medical evidence regarding the impact of passive smoking on children and is looking to place children in a smoke-free home. Given the highly addictive nature of smoking applicants would be expected to have given up at least a year before they apply to become a foster carer. Individuals are seen as non-smokers once they have given up for 10 years.
Do I have to be medically fit to become a foster carer?
Yes, you do need to be medically fit to care for a child. If you have a medical condition or disability that is not life threatening, is well controlled by medication, and does not affect normal daily life, we will be happy to consider you.
Do I need to stop working?
Not necessarily but you will need to have work which is extremely flexible. You will need to demonstrate that you have the time to give to your foster child; caring for children and young people who have been through trauma and loss means potentially being available for them at any time.
You will need to be at home for them during the school holidays. You will also need to take part in daytime training workshops, as well as regular meetings to plan for your foster child, and your own supervision.
Does it matter where I live?
It doesn't matter if you live in rented accomodation or if you own your house. As long as your accomodation is stable and you have no plans to move in the near future. Geographically PACT works across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and London. We have also previously worked with people from the surrounding counties if they have had something special to offer as a foster carer.