Why choose Lincolnshire Fostering Service
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.
You can be a foster carer regardless of whether 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 and we consider each application on an individual basis.
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.
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.
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.