Every child deserves love, support and stability in their lives. Our foster families provide children with positive experiences of family life. It is a hugely rewarding vocation

Our children and young people need you

More than 65,000 children live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK each day. In Reading, we look after 250 children and young people in care. There are many reasons why a child might need to be in care. It may be that:

  • A parent is unwell
  • They have witnessed domestic abuse
  • They have witnessed drug or alcohol misuse
  • They have been abused (this could be physically, emotionally, sexually or by neglect).

Whatever the reason, our children and young people need a home. A safe home with a caring family at a time in their life where they cannot be with their own family. At Brighter Futures for Children IFA, we want families to stay together, but only if it is safe for the child to do so.

Brighter Futures for Children IFA is independent, local and not-for-profit. We are rated 'Good' by Ofsted and our aim is to protect and enhance the lives of the children and young people in Reading.

You will be supported by us

As well as the training, Brighter Futures for Children IFA will assign you your own supervising social worker, who will visit you on a monthly basis and is always contactable.

You will be provided with a mentor and a buddy for your first year of foster care so you have another foster carer who understands what you’re going through and can support you.

You will be given a log-in to our private online ‘Foster Carers’ Hub’ where you can access most information you will need.

You will receive our fortnightly email newsletter for foster carers; celebrating successes, sharing news and updating you about important information.

You will also be put in contact with the Foster Carers’ Association Reading (FCAR), which is funded by Brighter Futures for Children. It is a group made up of foster carers who meet regularly.

"Foster carers have access to a wide range of support. This includes additional training, access to specialist clinical advice and support groups ... As a result, childrens lives have been enhanced and their voices heard."

Ofsted Inspection, January 2022

You will get training

We deliver face-to-face and online training all throughout the year and this will start as soon as you apply, with the Skills to Foster training programme.

Skills to Foster is a comprehensive three-day training course which all applicants need to complete. You will have the chance to meet our social workers and foster families to learn all about the reality of fostering. Things like:

  • What foster carers do
  • Children’s needs
  • The impact on you and your family
  • Safer caring
  • Working with professionals

You’ll get ongoing training to ensure you have the skills, knowledge and tools to support the child in your care.

Once you’re approved, you’ll be able to access our Foster Carer Hub. The site is packed with guidance, other mandatory and non-mandatory training and plenty of helpful information to help you on your journey.

"Weve got to know quite a few other foster carers who we call our friends and we all support each other. This is not a job, its a vocation"

You will be supported financially

Foster with Brighter Futures for Children IFA in Reading and you will never be alone. We recognise the value of our carers with a package which reflect this. You will receive a weekly fee and a child’s allowance when they are living with you.

Depending on your level, our fees can be as much as £425 per week or £22,000 a year. Allowances are tax-free and per child to cover expenses of between £150 and £260 per week.

You can earn more as you gain skills, experience and take on extra responsibility.

Learn more about pay and allowances

We are local and not-for-profit

Brighter Futures for Children IFA is a not-for-profit independent fostering agency (IFA) rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted. Both the IFA and our parent company, Brighter Futures for Children, are independent of, but wholly owned by, Reading Borough Council. We are the only not-for-profit IFA in the local area.

This means that we work closely with all of the services surrounding a child’s care; with children’s social care, early help and education, as well as partners, such as the police, and more. This is really important as it means we are able to offer well-rounded and holistic care to each child.