You can be single, living with a partner, married or from the LGBT community. It’s helpful if you have a supportive network of family or friends around you too.
There’s no upper age limit for foster carers! As long as you are fit and able to care for a child then there is no official age where you are ‘too old’ to foster. We have excellent carers of all ages, including those in their sixties.
You can live in either rented or owned accommodation. If you are a tenant then your landlord just needs to confirm to us that they are happy for you to foster. It’s important that each child you care for has their own bedroom, a space just for them.
You don’t need to have your own children to be a good foster carer. Time spent caring for nieces, nephews or working or volunteering with children will be valuable experience too. In addition to ongoing support from your dedicated supervising social worker there is lots of training to develop your skills and knowledge.
It depends how many hours you work, how flexible your current employer is and on the ages and needs of the children you foster. We pay allowances to cover your household costs and an additional amount for each child you foster. Some employers, including Walsall Council, have a Family Friendly policy which may provide flexibility and support if you decide to become a foster carer.
We understand that your pets are part of your family and we will include your cat or dog in our assessment, looking at their temperament and behaviour, to make sure that you are all ready to foster. Having pets can also be beneficial to the children in your care.
We welcome applications from people who are already fostering with other agencies or with other local authorities. It’s not a complicated process and we follow the established Fostering Network transfer protocol. This means that you could be a Walsall Council foster carer in as little as four months. We do need to discuss your individual circumstances so please contact us.
It is usually between four to eight months from application to become approved as a foster carer. The first step on your journey is to contact us to find out more. We can then go through an application with you over the phone. After this, a social worker will come to visit you at home to find out more about you and for you to ask us questions too. If you still want to proceed the next step is the ‘Skills to Foster’ training course, which is around 8 evening sessions, or 3 full days, dependent on the course running at the time.
The next stage is assessment, where your assessing social worker works with you to write a report about you and your suitability to become foster carers. This part of the process can take around four months and once it’s finished you and your social worker are invited to Foster Panel to discuss your assessment report. If Fostering Panel recommend that you become foster carers and the decision is approved by our Agency Decision Maker, you become foster carers for Walsall Council.