About Foster Care
Everything you need to know about fostering
Beginning a career as a foster carer is one of the most exciting and rewarding decisions you can make. However, if you’re new to fostering, you’re bound to have some questions. Tree House Care has been providing safe homes for children for over 20 years, so we’re confident we can tell you everything you need to know about this fulfilling career. We hope you’ll find the answers to all your questions below, but if not, please contact us and we’ll be happy to chat to you about all things fostering!
“The support we receive is the perfect level we want it to be… We have found this the most rewarding thing we have ever done.”
Tree House Care foster carer
At Tree House Care we believe that all children deserve a safe, loving home, with people who can guide and nurture them. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why this may not be possible with their birth families including bereavement, illness, breakdown in family relationships or other issues such as neglect or abuse.
A 2022 government report found that more than 80,000 children are in care at any one time. Without a high enough number of foster carers, many of these children are placed into unsuitable homes or moved from family to family, preventing them from having a stable, nurturing environment in which to thrive.
Helping a child in need and watching them fulfil their potential is a truly amazing experience and is life-changing for the child and the carer. If you think this is something you could offer, please contact us today.
How does fostering work?
As a foster carer, you will be caring for a child in your own home, and this can last from just a few days to several years.
You will work in partnership with the fostering agency, children’s services departments, and the child’s parents to make sure the child has a happy, safe and supportive home life in which they can thrive.
Each child is different, so we will work closely with you to find the best way to meet their individual needs.
How to apply to become a foster carer
When you apply to be a foster carer with Tree House Care, you will spend around 6 months getting to know us, understanding the impact fostering will have on you and your family and receiving essential training.
During this time, you will undergo several statutory checks and have the chance to speak to our existing foster carers about their experiences. We work together to decide if fostering is the right choice for you and your family.
Can I become a foster carer?
We’re always on the lookout for kind and compassionate people to join us in doing the right thing for our children. We’re not looking for saints – our foster carers are just ordinary people who want to make a difference. As long as you have a spare bedroom, do not have offences against children, and are fit and healthy, very little would count you out automatically. Our foster carers have a wide range of backgrounds, education and circumstances.
Can I foster?
If you’re considering fostering, take our simple quiz to see if it’s right for you.
How much will I be paid?
We pay a generous fostering allowance, as well as providing many other benefits.
Frequently asked questions
Who can be a foster carer?
Although being a foster carer is incredibly rewarding, it is also challenging. You will need patience, flexibility, empathy and an ability to handle difficult situations. It also helps to have first-hand experience of looking after children, either as a parent or through work.
As a foster carer, you can make a vital difference to a young person’s life, helping them to adjust to new circumstances and go on to thrive. It can be tough, yes, but few careers are as fulfilling!
Find out if you’re eligible to become a foster carer by taking our quiz.
How long does it take to become a foster carer?
A foster carer has the potential to transform young lives so it’s essential that we make sure that you are truly suited to the role. The selection process takes about six months and during this time, we spend many hours with you and your family, getting to know you and assessing the impact fostering is likely to have, as well as identifying the strengths you can bring.
Tree House Care carries out several statutory checks including a Disclosure & Barring Service check and we ask for work and personal references. We also ask you to undergo a full medical examination, so we can be confident you’re in good health.
But it’s not all one-way – you’ll be put in touch with our community of experienced foster carers so you can get a first-hand feel for the highs and lows of fostering. This way you can decide whether fostering is right for you and your family before taking the plunge!
What training and support are available to foster carers?
At Tree House Care, we believe in collaboration – working together to do the right thing for our children. Each foster carer is treated as a team member and we provide you with the tools you need to offer an outstanding level of care.
Help is always just a phone call away and we’ll meet with you at least once a month to make sure you have all the advice and guidance you could want. We also hold support groups so you can regularly meet with our community of foster carers.
During the period leading up to your approval as a foster carer, you will receive valuable training to set you on the path to success. Once approved, you will be offered regular fostering training on a wide range of topics from child development, to first aid. We follow a therapeutic fostering model, so you will receive specialised training and have access to our Trauma and Attachment Consultant, John.
Can I work and be a foster carer?
Foster children need a high level of care and support and so it’s important that at least one foster carer is at home full-time. However, if you’re working at present, we wouldn’t expect you to give up work until your foster child is due to arrive at your home.
Can I foster if I already have children?
Many foster carers have children of their own. However, it is important to understand that fostering does have an impact on your own family dynamics.
As your own children will have to share you with a foster child, which may be quite challenging, we advise new applicants to wait until their own children are settled in secondary school.
How do I choose a fostering agency?
Once you’ve made the decision to foster, the next stage is finding the fostering agency that fits your family. There are a few things to consider so we’ve put together a handy guide to choosing the agency that is right for you.
Who decides which children I will foster?
When it comes to matching a child with your family, we use our vast experience and will only ask you to consider welcoming a child into your family if we think it is right for everyone. We will respect your wishes and you will always have the final say.
Many new foster carers worry about whether they will bond with a child and whether the child will like them. Don’t worry – this is common – the training provided at Tree House Care will help with this and we will give you the understanding, tools, skills and expertise so that this isn’t a problem.
How do we know which age or gender of child will fit in with our family?
During the assessment, we’ll explore how your family works at the moment, your routines, family rules and the leisure activities you enjoy. This will help us determine who fits in with your family best. We know that putting time and thought into the matching process leads to better outcomes for all involved.
What about the child’s birth family?
Many new foster carers are worried about the child’s birth family. Don’t be. Contact with the birth family is always managed closely and tightly, often through a legal order, and we wouldn’t put you in a position where you were at risk in any way. We’ll be there to support you and to help you support the child with all family visits.
What our carers say
[Our Supervising Link Worker] has been absolutely amazing, and I really love working with her, we both do. We have had tremendous support from her, she is so brilliant. Tree House, I just think they are brilliant. As an ex-local authority foster carer, the difference is immense.
One of the things I love about Tree House is that they recognise that you can’t have outstanding quality for children without offering great support for the foster carers, who may be living with children with learning disabilities or autistic spectrum disorder. It sounds so simple but it’s something that many companies overlook.
Wow we had some lovely flowers delivered today!!! We would like to say thank you to you as an agency for these and all the support we have had. We would also like to say thank you for the birthday cards we have received since joining Tree House. Little things like this are really appreciated.
Tree House are exceptional. Support from [our Supervising Link Worker] is above and beyond, and overall staff at Tree House are very supportive.
Wow, we have just arrived to start our break and not sure what we were expecting but the caravan has surpassed our expectations. We are sat on the decking having our cup of tea before we go across to the main events, and we are totally chilling. Can’t believe we have this facility available to us. Thank you all very much. Now we can speak from experience about one more of the added extras to prospective foster carers.
Throughout my 12 years of fostering with Tree House my Supervising Link Worker has been the most honest, supportive person I have worked alongside. She always keeps me updated with training, offers support and advice in any decisions about my child and is so supportive during the upsetting times. She always helps with his struggles, suggesting new ways to help manage his behaviour.
We’d love to hear from you! Whether you are an existing carer looking to transfer agencies, or you are brand new to fostering and just want to ask some informal questions, use our contact form below. Our friendly team will be happy to answer any questions you might have.