What is fostering?

Fostering is looking after a child within your home, on a short or long term basis. Foster carers are paid fees and allowances to enable them to accommodate children in their home. To look after a child over the age of two, foster carers will need a spare bedroom within their home.

There can be many reasons why a child may need a foster home, including: family illnesses, abuse or neglect, breakdowns in family relations, or a child may have arrived unaccompanied from abroad.

There are over 200 looked after children in Camden, and more than 72,000 in the UK. Camden are looking for London based foster carers, who can offer care, stability and consistency to our children and young people.

By becoming a foster carer for Camden, you can:

  • Make a lasting difference to local children
  • Build a fulfilling new career that can change lives
  • Gain recognised qualifications in foster care

To find out more about fostering, you can attend one of our monthly information sessions or email fostering@camden.gov.uk

Why foster with Camden?

By choosing to foster with Camden you have access to many benefits including:
  • 24 hour support, 365 days a year
  • Generous fees and allowances
  • Access to specialist and tailored training
  • Pay no council tax if you are a Camden resident
  • Active support groups across different age groups
  • Regular, free to attend, events to build relationships within the fostering community
  • All the information available about a child is given to you when considering a placement
  • Shared resources with neighbouring Boroughs via the North London Fostering Consortium
  • Regular updates from our foster carers newsletter
  • Membership to Camden Association of Foster Care  (CAFC)
  • Benefits and discounts through Max Card
  • A £900 referral fee paid should someone you recommend become an approved foster carer
To find out more about fostering for Camden, you can attend one of our monthly information sessions  or get in contact with us.

 

Contact the fostering team

Becoming a foster carer

Step 1: Contact us

You get in contact with us, either via phone on 020 7974 6783 or email. A social worker will discuss your reasons for wanting to foster, experience and space available within your home. You will be sent an information pack and invited to our upcoming open evenings.

Step 2: Home visit

When you are ready, a social worker from the fostering team will visit your home. They will see if your home is suitable for fostering and talk about you, your life experiences as well as your family.

Step 3: The Skills to Foster preparation group

This is a compulsory three-day group course which we run four times a year. It gives an understanding of fostering, why children come into care, as well as your role and responsibilities as a foster carer. Following this course, a joint decision will be made by the trainers and you to see if fostering is right for you. If you go ahead, you will move on to the formal assessment process.

Step 4: The assessment

A social worker will visit your home at least every week. You will talk about your background, your experiences of education and employment, and your lifestyle. This will include religion, culture and day-to-day living, as well as your skills around caring for children and young people. During this time, we will carry out various checks on you and anyone in your household aged 16 and cover. These will be made with your local authority, police, NSPCC and your doctor. We will also request references from people who know you well and can comment on your ability to care for a foster child. This process can take up to four months.

Step 5: The fostering panel

Once the assessment is finished, your assessment report will be presented to the fostering panel, you will have a chance to read this beforehand and raise anything you may disagree with.

The fostering panel advises the council on the suitability of people who apply to become foster carers. The panel will decide whether or not to recommend to the council your approval as a foster carer, but the final decision rests with the Assistant Director of Safeguarding and Social Care.

Once you have been approved as a foster carer, you will continue to receive support from your allocated supervising social worker who will visit you at home and carry out your annual review. You will also receive mentoring from an experienced foster carer who can support you through your first foster placement. The department will send you a newsletter twice a year with useful information about training, events, policy and practice.

Foster carer stories

Kibru and Keleme’s Story

Kibru and Keleme have been fostering for Camden since 2005. Below they talk about how and why they started fostering and how the experience has been so far.

Why did you get into fostering?

Keleme and I initially became interested in fostering in order to fulfil our desire to support and help unaccompanied minors from Ethiopia, many of them were looked after by foster carers who did not address their cultural, linguistic and other social needs. On many occasions the problems of unaccompanied minors were raised in our community as well as at the Refugee Council – where I used to work at the time.

We became determined and committed to make a real difference to unaccompanied minors. We then approached an Independent Fostering Agency that had already set up a fostering project for Ethiopian and Eritrean children, and after our approval the Agency placed two Ethiopian unaccompanied siblings on a long term basis. After a few years with the Agency we decide to foster for Camden.

How would you describe your experience of fostering so far? What are the highlights and challenges?

Initially we were anxious about how we could manage behaviours of looked after children, accommodating their cultural and family values, likes and dislikes, and how they integrate into our family set up etc. Once we started fostering, we had siblings from Ethiopia placed with us, who became used to the routines and gradually built our confidence. In fact having our first placement from the same cultural background as ours enormously helped to allay our fears and anxieties and also enabled us to offer a high standard of care.

We have been fostering for Camden for over 10 years now, and during this time we have had children from different background and nationalities. Fostering children whose ethnicity and culture is different from ours helped us to learn about other people, and to appreciate diversity and respect differences.

Successful fostering involves welcoming children into your home and family, understanding and accepting who they are, reassuring their safety and wellbeing and building positive rapport, setting boundaries and providing support in accordance with their care plan.

Although it sounds like a cliché to us the satisfaction and positive feelings we get from fostering outweigh the challenges and the hard work that come with it.

Would you encourage other people to become foster carers?

Yes we would. In our opinion, fostering and adoption is a great opportunity for people to make a real difference to children and young people who are in need of care, and we encourage people to become foster carers.

Apart from its generous remuneration package, fostering for Camden has numerous benefits for foster carers. It has an excellent training and development programme, offers exemption to council tax for local residents, a high level of support from supervising social workers, with recognition and appreciation from managers and directors, the annual award ceremonies for foster carers and other events make fostering with Camden an interesting and enjoyable experience.

The Camden Association of Foster Care (CAFC) represents and provides support to foster cares and works in partnership with the management to facilitate and resolve any issues regarding fostering.

Eva and Vilmo’s Story

How did you get into fostering?

We were first introduced to fostering seven years ago by our friends. They were looking after a small girl back then. They told us that unfortunately her birth mother could no longer look after her, so she was placed in foster care. I became interested in fostering almost instantly then, because I wanted to help children in need.

How would you describe your experience so far?

This is the hardest job I have ever done so far, but also the most rewarding. I feel that we are making a real difference. Being parents to two grown up daughters who have already left home, we have a lot of childcare experience which comes in handy. However, it can be challenging to look after a child who is vulnerable or had had a difficult start in life.

What are the challenges and rewards of fostering?

We have looked after three teenagers so far. Each of them came from different backgrounds and with different values. We always have to adapt in order to accommodate these young individuals and to ensure that they feel safe and happy. They bring pain with themselves and it is often heart-breaking to see. Teens sometimes hide their vulnerability by showing anger.

The rewards are simple, everyday things, like a genuine smile and thank you from them, or when they achieve a certain grade at their GCSE, when they didn’t think it would be possible.

Would you encourage other people to look into becoming foster carers?

Absolutely! It may be challenging but it’s the best job I have ever done. Helping others is the best feeling in the world.

Open evenings and events

We hold information sessions throughout the year for people interested in fostering. These give an overview of fostering, different types of placements, what fostering for Camden is like and gives you a chance to speak with a fostering social worker in an informal setting.

For more information and to book a place to attend, please contact the fostering team or call 020 7974 6783.

  • Thursday 2 May 2019
  • Thursday 6 June 2019
  • Thursday 4 July 2019 - 5:30pm - 7:00pm
  • Thursday 1 August 2019 - 5:30pm - 7:00pm

Our open evenings start at 5pm and finish at 6.30pm, unless stated. Please arrive promptly.

Venue: Crowndale Centre, 218 Eversholt street, London NW1 1BD.

Send an enquiry

To find out more about fostering for Camden email fostering@camden.gov.uk

We will send an information pack out to you, and be in contact within 2 working days. Alternatively, if you have any questions about fostering and whether it could be right for you, get in contact with us.

Contact the fostering team

Comments, complaints and further information

We want to provide the best possible service to prospective foster carers.

If a foster carer or someone using or planning to use our service is unhappy with any aspect of our service or a decision we make, they can make a complaint. If you tell us about it, we can try to put things right.

We have a foster carers’ complaints procedure to manage those times when a foster parent is not happy with the service given to them by Camden.

If the complaint relates to services provided to a child or young person, then the Children Act complaints procedure must be followed. The child or young person involved in the complaint will then be entitled to an advocate to support and represent them in the process.

Advice

You can get advice on making a complaint by contacting the supporting people directorate complaints officer.

Fostering Statement of Purpose

Under the Fostering Regulations 2011 and the National Minimum Standards, Camden’s fostering service is required to have a statement of purpose that sets out the framework of local fostering services and how these will help looked after children to achieve positive outcomes. Camden’s statement of purpose has been prepared to provide information for foster carers, service users, professionals and members of the public about the fostering service’s aims and objectives and how our services will improve outcomes for looked after children.