Every child deserves a decent start in life, and to be given the guidance, confidence and love they need to fulfil their potential. But far too many don’t have that opportunity.
By being a foster carer here in Reading, you could make a difference to a local child that will last a lifetime. In return, we’ll provide all the support and mentoring you’ll need.
We urgently need to recruit many more foster carers locally – and from all walks of life. We offer a range of options to fit in with carers’ other commitments. It might just be for a day or two. A few months or a year perhaps. It could be for much longer… whatever works best for you.
You’ll need to be over 21 and have a spare bedroom, but your marital status and gender are irrelevant. You certainly don’t need to own your own home either and you can work alongside fostering. It’s what you can offer a child that matters to us.
What is the role of a foster carer?
Every child is an individual, and foster carers are there to respect and nurture that individuality – providing a stable, secure, supportive environment at what can often be a difficult time in a young person’s life.
Their self-esteem may well have been eroded, and they will look to their foster carer to rebuild their confidence in themselves and in others around them, to demonstrate clear values and help them acquire the social and life skills they need as a firm foundation for adulthood.
In short, they will need someone they can trust and believe in. Could that be you?
What happens if you apply to be a foster carer?
Make your first, informal call and we’ll tell you more about the role and ask you a few questions. The assessment process that follows will give you plenty of time to feel confident about taking on the role.
However far your application progresses, you are never under any obligation to continue if your situation changes, you have doubts, or you feel it best to delay the process.
Should you progress to being accepted as a foster carer, we will carefully match you to a child or children reflecting your experience. You will never be asked to take on a role unless you feel confident to do so – and our team is always there to support you should you need advice or have concerns.
In addition, if you are a carer with Reading, you receive the continuing training and mentoring you need to be the very best at what you do.
If you already foster with an independent fostering agency (IFA) or another agency or service, our team can talk to you about caring with us.
What are the different types of fostering?
Foster care is about matching the needs of both carer and child, and many carers need to fit in additional commitments, such as work, study or care for other members of their family. Because of that, we have developed a range of options:
- Respite fostering – providing a few days’ care to give a child’s family a short break.
- Emergency fostering – providing care, often at very short notice, for a brief period of time – for one night up to 6 days.
- Short-term fostering – regular stays of anything between a few days, weeks, months or occasionally over a year.
- Long-term fostering – permanent care for a young person until they reach 18.
- Supported lodgings – specifically caring for young people of 16 and over.
- Short breaks - providing short breaks for children with physical or learning disabilities.
- Parent & Child – mentoring and assessing a mother or father with their child in your own home.
What support will I receive?
Foster with Reading and you will never be alone. We recognise the value of our carers with a package which reflect this. Our fees can be as much as £425 per week or £22,000 a year. This is in addition to a tax-free allowance for each child to cover expenses of between £150 and £260 per week. We also offer retainers for our carers when they do not have a child in placement.
We also offer a great package of training and support and our team are always on hand to offer sympathetic mentoring and expert advice.
You’ll also discover that you’re part of a fantastic network of fellow carers who are always there to give you the benefit of their experience.
We have a number of events where you can come long and chat to one of our team about fostering and your family. The dates of the events are as listed on our events page. These are updated regularly, so keep an eye on our website for updates.
Enquire about fostering
If you would like to know more about fostering, then why not make the next move and give us a call on 0118 469 3020 or fill out an online form. You have nothing to lose, but it might be one of the very best decisions you ever make. You’ll never know if you don't make that call…