Think you can’t foster? You can with Torbay.

Anyone can foster with the right support and you can be married, single, gay or straight, young or old, and from any background.

Fostering is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself, and is also your opportunity to make a real difference to a child’s life and wellbeing. As well as helping children who have often had a difficult start in life to improve their confidence and help prepare them for the world by providing a safe and loving home, you will also be paid and be entitled to a number of benefits and discounts.

You will also have access to ongoing support and advice from Torbay’s Fostering team social workers, and regular meetings with your designated supervising social worker, as well access to other professional support, for example with teachers, doctors and other health care professionals. Your foster child will also have their own social worker from a different team. Depending on the circumstances, you may also have frequent meetings with the child’s birth parents and other family members and friends to support the child’s contact with them.

We don’t pretend it’s easy and there will be challenging times ahead, but the positive rewards and the difference it will make to both you and your foster child’s life, far outweigh the negatives.

What does fostering entail?

You will need to feed and clothe a child, help them understand the need for making healthy eating choices and taking exercise as well as giving guidance on personal presentation and looking after themselves.

Encouraging a child with their school and homework is a key fostering task. You may be expected to attend meetings at the school including parents’ evenings.

It’s also important that a looked after child has access to sports and activities and you may find yourself researching where they can take part in a favourite hobby or providing lifts to the sports centre after school.

One of the most important roles for any foster carer is to be a good listener and to have the time to sit down with a child when they want to talk.

Who can foster?

Just like children, foster carers come in all shapes and sizes, from all backgrounds and all walks of life. They are ordinary people who like children, have a genuine interest in their welfare and have the time and space to look after them.

  • Foster carers can be any of the following:
  • Single, married, gay or lesbian
  • Some experience of looking after children
  • You have a strong partnership or family and friends
  • Any cultural background
  • Over 18 but there is no upper age limit
  • Stable accommodation
  • Good health. If you have a disability you can still foster if it does not prevent the caring tasks from being carried out
  • Have a good understanding of the English language and are able to read and write
  • Be able to use email and the internet, or be prepared to undertake basic IT training
  • Be willing to attend ongoing fostering training
  • Agree to a full criminal records check

The kind of person you are is the most important thing about being a foster carer. These are some of the most important qualities we look for:

  • You like children and enjoy their company
  • You are able to accept children from other cultural backgrounds to your own
  • You can be non-judgmental about a child’s birth parents and why a child is in care
  • You understand that it may take time for a child to respond to you and may not show thanks
  • You could accept or deal with an angry or distressed child
  • You can accept that your house may become messy
  • You have a sense of humour
  • You can accept that a foster child is not your own and will someday move on
  • Thinking about fostering?
  • Listen to our foster carer’s talk about why they decided to apply to become a foster carer with Torbay’s Fostering Team.