Our offer to foster carers
Lincolnshire Fostering Service puts the children who need loving foster homes at the heart of everything we do.
We try to place children with foster families who are most likely to meet their needs, including any religion or cultural identity, which is why we need to recruit foster carers from all different backgrounds!
We also provide training around equality and diversity to help foster carers provide the most appropriate care for children.
We have been rated as an Outstanding provider by Ofsted in our 2019 inspection and take pride in the high level of service and support we offer our foster families.
Our award winning Caring2Learn initiative supports education settings to be confident in nurturing vulnerable children and young people so that they can achieve better than expected progress, whilst asking foster carers to champion education in the home.
We want all of our children to feel safe and to belong in their home and school, in order to provide them with a solid foundation to have the confidence to go on to learn, be inspirational and achieve their full potential.
Caring2Learn is unique to Lincolnshire with many other fostering agencies across the country showing an interest.
If all of this wasn't enough, we also offer our foster families a great combination of support and rewards every step of the way on their fostering journey.
What we offer our foster carers
A competitive financial package
The County Council has invested in fostering and the allowances made to foster carers are comparable to those paid elsewhere.
In addition to a weekly allowance (which is per child and dependent on their age), additional payments are made at certain times of the year such as Christmas (or another religious festival), birthdays, uniforms for clubs (e.g. Brownies), and for taking a placement out of normal office hours, to name but a few.
Finances may be presented differently by agencies but they generally work out the same for foster carers regardless of which agency they foster with.
In addition to this, Lincolnshire County Council has introduced a Retention Payment to our foster families to say thank you for the amazing job they all do!
It is paid annually and is dependent on the length of time fostering and the successful completion of the Annual Review as well as any identified training.
Foster Carers' Hub
We believe that having a local support community goes a long way in being able to foster successfully. That's why our carers have access to:
- support and supervision from a designated supervising social worker
- additional one-to-one support from support workers
- ongoing local training and development
- quarterly foster carer focus groups across the county
- a buddying scheme to link new carers up with experienced carers
- problem-solving sessions
- monthly service e-newsletter containing the latest training, events, information and advice about fostering
- bi-annual foster carers' magazine - written by foster carers, for foster carers!
Sometimes you may want to access independent advice on fostering issues.
That’s why we provide our carers with membership to the Fostering Network, the UKs leading fostering charity, who offer advice and information to foster carers on a range of issues, including income tax and finance, legislation, and allegations.
Fostering is incredibly rewarding but we understand that from time-to-time you may need a break.
That’s why we ensure that when required we provide respite care for those carers requesting a break from their fostering role for whatever reason.
Support for birth children
We recognised that birth children often need and want support when part of a fostering family, which is why we offer:
- a fostering preparation course for your birth children
- Supportive Superstars - our support group for birth and adopted children in foster families
In addition, support for our children includes:
- Voices4Choices - our children in care council
- education support
- FAB! Awards - an annual celebration of achievement for children in care and care leavers
Rewards and celebrations
We think our foster families do an amazing job looking after the county's most vulnerable children and so we arrange a number of rewards and celebrations throughout the year to thank them, including:
- Annual Foster Carers' Long Service Awards Ceremony
- Annual Foster Carers' Celebration Conference
- Max Card - a discount card for foster families offering free or discounted entry into numerous attractions nationwide
- family fun days including an annual summer BBQ as well as a Christmas Party
We understand that it can be confusing deciding which organisation to foster with, but it is worth considering that Local Authorities are the only organisations who can place children who need foster homes.
In Lincolnshire, we will always look to our own in-house foster carers first, and will only look further afield when we have explored every possible option of meeting the child's needs from our in-house carers first.
This means that our foster carers are more likely to get regular placements within their preferred age range.
Choosing a fostering provider
When choosing a fostering provider you have two choices:
- foster with the Local Authority (LA)
- foster with an Independent Fostering Agency (IFA)
All children come into care through their Local Authority and as an Outstanding local fostering provider we will always look to place children who need foster homes with our in-house carers first.
This means that our foster carers are more likely to get more regular placements within their preferred age range.
Differences between LA and IFA
Although we do work with and occasionally use Independent Fostering Agencies, there are some differences when considering a Local Authority or private agency.
Many IFAs offer a quality training package. As a local fostering provider our training is based around our award-winning Caring2Learn model which has a proven track record of equipping foster carers to build resilience and provide children with a safe, stable and therapeutic learning environment with a child-centred approach.
As a Lincolnshire foster carer you'll be supported to develop skills by accessing training you need to really make a positive difference to children's lives. We support the personal and professional development of our foster carers, providing access and support as an equal member of the Children's Services Team.
Our foster carers are provided with training to help build their skills and knowledge so they are able to offer a therapeutic style of care where children can feel safe, heal and reach their full potential.
Fostering allowances will vary between different LA providers, but fees private agencies offer are often higher.
Local Authorities offer additional financial incentives, expenses and funding that often aren't offered within an IFA arrangement.
On top of fees paid for looking after a child with Lincolnshire you'll also have opportunities to earn more by becoming a Foster Carer Champion.
You can find out more about our offering to fosterers in our Fostering Payments Handbook.
The age of the children and young people that private agencies place are usually higher than they are with Local Authorities.
LAs often find it harder to place older children so these children are often placed with fostering agencies. Although LAs aim to increase the numbers of carers for older children we also require foster carers for children from birth.
In Lincolnshire, we use the Valuing Care Model; an approach that allows us to accurately build a profile for a child's needs and foster carers' strengths to support matching that allows us to identify the foster carer who is able to meet a high level of a child's needs.
This also allows us to accurately determine the support package required for the child and foster carer.
Fostering agencies are usually located to cover whole regions or spread out nationally.
We have a strong local infrastructure with a team of specialists to support foster carers and children in care which ranges from general advice, guidance, activities and events for children and young people, foster families and support groups, to specialist therapeutic intervention.
Like many fostering agencies we work within a trauma informed organisational framework that is solution focused, therapeutic and relational.
We have a range of therapies that foster carers can access for children in their care where a need is identified.
As an outstanding LA we offer a high level of support. We have an award-winning, community training package designed by our foster carers, for our foster carers.
We have a local dedicated team of Social Workers, therapists, education support officers, family support and, with a strong sense of community, foster carers are also offered a range of local respite opportunities.
If you have any questions about fostering or are unsure which agency to choose, please contact our dedicated recruitment team on [email protected]
We are also able to offer you a phone call with an experienced foster carer if you think that would be beneficial.
You can foster!
We are committed to recruiting a diverse range of foster carers from differing backgrounds and life experiences.
We value the different perspectives people can bring to our team and believe that an inclusive fostering community enriches the lives of our children.
We consider each application on an individual basis so you can be a foster carer if you:
- are single, married or unmarried
- are heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender
- are disabled or able-bodied
- are employed or receiving benefits
- have had your own children or not
- are a home owner or renting, but you must have a spare bedroom
- are from any ethnic or religious background
- there is no upper age limit to foster
Who cannot foster?
You cannot foster a child if you have any criminal cautions or convictions for:
- offences against children
- sexual offences against adults
You cannot foster a child under the age of five if you smoke, including e-cigarettes.
If you do not currently have a spare bedroom we are unable to progress your application to foster at this time.
Become a foster carer
These are the steps to becoming a foster carer:
- Enquiry - you can make an enquiry via our online form or by calling us
- Home visit - we will visit you to explain the process in detail
- Formal application - complete the application form to officially start the process
- Checks and references - this includes medical and criminal background checks
- Training - you must attend a three-day training course
- Assessment - a social worker will visit you at home to assess your ability to foster
- Approval - the fostering panel will make a recommendation whether to approve you
- Final decision - this is made by an assistant director of children's services
- Notification - you will be informed of the final decision in writing
Alternatively, call 01522 554114 or come along to one of our information events.
Transfer to us
If you are already a foster carer, you can transfer from your current agency or local authority to us.
We can offer you a great combination of support and rewards every step of the way.
If you do decide to transfer to us we will arrange to visit you at home to chat about what is involved.
We will then work with your existing service to make sure the children involved feel supported and disruption is kept to a minimum.
Parent and child fostering
Parent and child fostering is a specialist type of fostering which is sometimes required in order to decide if a parent can provide a good level of care to their child.
Either a mother or father (sometimes both) will come and live with you with their young child at a time when they need extra help and support.
The parent will need your guidance, skills and experience to help develop their parenting skills and understanding of what a child needs. You will care for, support and empower them to develop their confidence, parenting skills and to make positive decisions about their child’s wellbeing.
You will need to have excellent observation skills, be able to work with a range of professionals, and have accurate report writing skills, all whilst safeguarding the child and ensuring their needs are being met by the parent.
This is a unique fostering opportunity for people who have the relevant skills and experience to provide a nurturing, safe and life-changing support to a parent and child in your home.
For someone interested in parent and child fostering, you will need:
- a suitable home conditions and space
- availability to provide appropriate levels of supervision
- knowledge and experience with caring for babies
- knowledge of the physical and emotional needs of pregnant and postnatal women
- a reflective and curious mind set
- excellent observation skills
- to keep reliable and organised records
- demonstrate relationship based practice
- to be an experienced team player
- to be committed to own personal and professional development
Parent and child carers receive an allowance of £571.20 per week as well as on-going local training and support from our fostering community.
To request more information about Parent and Child fostering please complete the enquiry form, and our team will get in touch.
Make your house their home campaign
In Lincolnshire, there is an urgent need for more long-term foster carers to look after some of the county's most vulnerable children.
The 'Make your house their home' campaign aims to help us find the right people to become long-term foster carers.
Long-term fostering is also known as permanent fostering.
Some children are not able to return to their birth family because it would not be safe for them to do so, and adoption is not always suitable for every child.
In these cases, we strongly believe that long-term foster families should be found.
As a long-term foster carer, you will care for a child or young person until they reach adulthood and beyond.
Long-term fostering needs a high level of commitment, as carers need to provide a stable home life for a child.
In Lincolnshire, there are many children and young people, including groups of brothers and sisters, waiting right now for long-term foster families.
Many of the children and young people who live with foster carers come from a diverse range of backgrounds and may display some challenging behaviours depending on their past experiences.
Watch our animated film, Ellie's Story which is a real-life account from one of our care leavers of her experience of being in long-term care.
Long-term fostering benefits
There are many benefits to long-term fostering both for the child or young person and for carers.
A long-term family gives a sense of belonging and with consistent routine, love and understanding, children can begin to flourish and be better prepared for adulthood.
Being a long-term foster carer can be a challenging role, but it is also hugely rewarding.
Our carers tell us by far the biggest reward for them is watching the children in their care develop and flourish into young adults and knowing they had a big part to play in that.
We recognise that long-term foster carers need to be supported in their role in order for them to do the best job they can.
That's why, in addition to the great support and rewards we offer all of our foster carers, long-term carers may also receive:
All foster carers receive an allowance to help with the cost of looking after a child. The allowance foster carers get depends on the age of the child they are looking after. In addition to this, long-term foster carers may also receive an enhanced level of payment if the carers are linked with a child who has been waiting for a permanent placement for over 6 months.
All long-term foster carers are provided with 14 nights respite per year unless care plans recognise that additional periods are required.
Bespoke Preparation Course
In addition to the Preparation Course which all prospective foster carers attend, long-term foster carers get an additional 1-day course to help prepare them for the role of looking after a child or young person on a long-term basis.
Additional training is also available which is tailored specifically for long-term placements to give carers the skills they need to successfully care for a child or young person.