Fostering FAQs

Find answers to our more frequently asked questions

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions, if you can’t find any you’re looking for below give us a call on 0800 566 8317 and we’ll be happy to discuss.

How much do foster parents get paid?

As a leading fostering agency, Compass average a foster care allowance of £370 for every child per week living in your home. This includes both the professional fee paid to you as a foster carer and the child’s living allowance. This is the money to be spent on caring for children placed with you. On average our carers support between one and two children every week and therefore the actual average carer weekly fostering allowance is in excess of £460.

What is the difference between fostering and adoption?

The main difference between adoption and foster care is a legal one. An adoption order ends a child’s legal relationship with their birth family, whereas looked after children in foster care remain the legal responsibility of the local authority and their birth parents/family.

Will a criminal record prevent me from being a foster carer?

Not necessarily. We assess each case individually and the only criminal convictions that prevent you fostering by law are those that relate to offences against children or other sexual offences. The most important thing is that you are honest with us from the start about any convictions you may have so that we can ascertain how this may or may not affect the children or young people that are placed into your care.

How long is it likely to take to be a foster carer?

Generally, we aim to get people through the process in about 4 months, but it can take up to 6 months depending on individual circumstances. During this time, you will be visited multiple times by your allocated Social Worker and will undertake our Skills to Foster training course. Read more about the 6 steps to becoming a foster parent.

I am single, can I still be a foster carer?

Any adult can foster as long as they can demonstrate they have time, emotional space, reasonable room in their homes and a passion for encouraging children to meet their full potential.

Can I be a foster carer if I smoke?

Yes, but there will be restrictions. It’s vitally important that fostered children and young people have positive role models in their lives, so we will ask that if you must smoke you do so outdoors and not in your home or your car. You can read more about our smoking guidelines here.

Do I need to be able to drive?

It is our preference that you have a full driving licence and access to a car, but it is not always essential. You will however need to show that you can provide alternative transport for things like school or doctor’s appointments.

I rent my property; can I still foster?

Many people foster whilst living in rented accommodation, you just need to make sure you get consent from your landlord or agent.

Can I foster if I have lodgers/non-family members living with me?

Yes, if you give notice on your lodger prior to completion of the assessment process.
However, if the lodger or non-family member has lived with you for 12 months and will not be leaving the home and agree to be involved in the assessment process; they will complete necessary checks and references.

Do I need a spare room to foster?

This is one requirement that is mandatory. You will not be able to start the application process until you have a room available.

I work, can I still foster?

You can work and foster but we do ask you to be flexible with your time for picking up children from school and drop off. Along with being able to attend meetings and appointments.

Can I choose the ages of the children I wish to foster?

We ask that all of our carers go for approval of 0-18’s but you will be able to state a preference of which ages you would like to foster. We spend a lot of time making sure each child and foster family are well matched and will never force a placement which isn’t right for either side.

The local authority has a fostering service so why do we need independent fostering agencies?

Unfortunately, the number of children who become looked after far exceeds the levels which local authorities can support. This is why independent fostering agencies are required to offer extra support and facilities to foster families and children nationally. Learn more about the difference between local authorities and fostering agencies.

Will the foster children have challenging behaviour?

Because of the nature of the children and young people that come into care, it is a fact that some of them will display challenging or difficult behaviour. Before a child arrives at your home, you will always be given all the information we have on any potential difficulties they may have.

Will fostering affect my own children?

Fostering impacts on the whole family and will affect your children, but we’ve found that this can often be a hugely positive experience for birth children. Many benefit from the friendship of having a new foster sibling in their home. Everyone’s experience of fostering is different, so you will need to talk to your children about how they might feel about having another child or young person join their family.

Will I, or children I am looking after have contact with their birth family?

It is important that children remain in contact with their birth families unless the placing authority or the court thinks this is not in the best interests of the child.

Foster carers, as part of the fostering service, have a duty to promote contact between a fostered child, their parents, relatives and friends unless this is not practicable to do so or compromises their welfare. Each contact arrangement will be based on the child’s individual needs; it may require the contact to take place at an agreed venue and may be supervised by an appropriate adult.

What are the next steps after my initial enquiry?

You will be contacted over the phone over the next couple of days and will be asked to answer a few questions about yourself, your family and your situation. If our recruitment team think you would benefit from us visiting you to discuss fostering with Compass further, an initial visit will be arranged at a convenient time for you.

Can foster children share bedrooms?

If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, you might be wondering if foster children can share bedrooms. While foster children usually need their own room, there is one potential exception: same-sex foster siblings.

Can you travel internationally with foster children

When you bring a foster child into your home, they’ll quickly become part of your family – and you’ll want them to share in all your family activities, including holidays! We encourage our foster families to include foster children in travel plans, but there are a few things to consider first.

Are there many checks to be completed during assessment?

Due to the nature of the role of fostering, there are a number of checks which will need to be carried out both on you, your partner and anyone else living in the house.

Can I transfer from another agency/local authority?

Yes you can! We have lots information for regarding transferring to us here.


Request Your Digital Brochure

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  • You must have a spare room in order to foster.