Become a foster carer

We are a non-profit-making agency.

Caring for children and young people who have had a difficult start in life is very important. We want to make sure that our foster carers have a good understanding of what is involved and are committed to making things better for our children.

You can contact us by phone or email and we will answer any initial queries you have and send you an information pack. Or if you would like to register your interest online, you can complete the enquiry form and we will be in touch with you on the next working day.

We hold monthly information sessions which are a good way to find out what’s involved and how fostering works. The sessions are friendly and informal and you will get the chance to meet the fostering team and most importantly hear our foster carers talking about their experiences.

One of the team would then come and visit you in your own home so we can find out a bit more about you and answer any questions you may have for us.

To make sure our foster carers are well prepared, we have an initial preparation training course for people new to fostering in Ealing. Most people who attend this course really enjoy it and feel that it helps to give them the skills they need to foster.

To make sure that children are safe, we need to take up various checks on anyone interested in fostering. We also carry out an assessment so we understand someone’s strengths and get to know who they are and how their family works. The assessment helps us to get to know someone so we know what support they are likely to need and what sort of child they could look after best.

Once we have completed the assessment, carers are approved by a panel of people who have a good understanding of fostering and the needs of the children and young people we need carers for.

Mother and child

The role of a foster carer

Sadly not all children are able to live with their own families. When families are in a crisis or struggling with issues such as mental health or substance misuse, they may not be able to provide their children with the support and stability they need. When it is not possible to support the family at home the children may need to be fostered to make sure they are safe and get the proper care they need.

What do foster carers do?

Foster carers provide the same care as any parent would. They make sure that the children are healthy, well fed, clothed properly and can experience a stable family life. For older children foster carers take them to school (usually primary age children), help them with homework and give them opportunities to follow their interests. For preschool children foster carers provide the support to make sure they are developing properly and reaching their milestones. Children who may have had a difficult start in life are likely to need some extra help and understanding, so foster carers need to be patient, tolerant and nurturing.

Foster carers become very important people in a child’s life and their feedback and input in meetings to help plan for child’s future are key.

Foster carers do all the things a parent would, but because they are looking after other people’s children it is more formal and becomes a professional role.

See our Foster Carers’ Charter for details of our commitment to working together.

Who can Foster ?

All sorts of people make good foster carers.

The main requirements are to care about children and speak enough English to be able to communicate with the people involved in a child’s life.

Foster carers come from many different backgrounds:

  • All ages (but must be over 21)
  • Privately rent, live in social housing or own their own homes
  • Work or claim benefits
  • Heterosexual or gay
  • Have their own children or don’t have children
  • May be religious, others are not
  • Married, separated or divorced, living with someone or on their own

You don’t need a spare bedroom to be able to foster. We currently need more foster carers to look after babies, who may be able to sleep in your bedroom if you have space for a cot.

Being a foster carer is about being flexible and open minded, enjoying a challenge, enjoying learning new things and wanting to make a real difference to the lives of children who can’t be with their birth families.

If you’re not sure about whether you could foster, have a chat with us first – don’t rule yourself out. Discover what you’re truly capable of.

Training & Support

As a foster carer for Ealing there will always be someone there to support you. We have a dedicated fostering support workers and an out-of-hours service, which you can rely on 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

You don’t need any formal qualifications to be a foster carer. We provide a comprehensive training package, from pre-approval training to specialist courses, which includes the opportunity to gain a level three diploma in child care.  Our courses are timed to suit you around school pick-ups, drop-offs, evenings and weekends.

Our training package includes a whole range of different courses from practical courses such as first aid and health safety awareness to understanding child development and managing behaviour. We have training for whatever age child you want to look after form pre-school to working with teenagers.

We have recently added an exciting new program called, ‘Nurturing attachments’ which gives our carers an overview of attachment theory. This in-depth course helps carers to really understand the effects of the experiences children have had. It teaches carers how to build relationships with children and explore different approaches to managing and reacting to behaviour.

Support groups

We hold monthly support groups where you can meet other carers, share ideas, experiences and make new friends. We have also recently set up a men’s support group.

We also have a support group for people before they are approved, to make sure they feel supported throughout the approval process.

Buddy Scheme

Once you are approved we’ll link you up with an experienced carer who you can call on for informal advice and support.

Foster carer preparation groups

Everyone interested in becoming a foster carer will need to attend our preparation training course. This course covers all the basics you would need to know to feel confident to foster. Most people who attend really enjoy the course and get a lot out of it even if they then decide not to go any further. The course is held in Ealing and is by invitation only following the initial visit to your home.

We usually hold four initial training groups a year. The course is over four days –  a Thursday evening 6-9pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-4pm and Monday 6-9pm.

Meet our carers

Our carers are from a range of different backgrounds and all care about children and want to make a difference.

Hear from some of our foster carers.

Types of Fostering

There are different types of fostering depending on the needs of the children and young people.

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