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Advice needed please

(7 Posts)
Ckaddict81 Sun 25-Dec-16 19:05:54

Merry Christmas everyone

Just seeking a little bit of advice really, my partner and I are considering fostering and have many questions!
We are both in our mid thirties and have no children of our own. We are a lesbian couple....does this matter? We are both a bit overweight, will this effect our application? Despite me being overweight I am still active However my partner has fibromyalgia will this effect our application?
I would be the main carer, I currently work full time so I would of course give up work if we were approved, I have worked in childcare for the past 13 years mainly with children under 2 so this is where my experience is, can you request to care for just under 2's? Once we had some experience of fostering of course we would like to take any age child.
We currently rent our home, does this matter? We have 2 spare bedrooms.
The money side of fostering worries me, I understand that you receive an allowance however being used to two full time wages coming in i would be worried I could not afford to pay my share of the bills.
I do not drive, does this matter? My partner does but as she would remain working full time as a carer I wouldn't have much access to the car.
Do you recieve any kind of allowance for buying equipment? Such as pram, cot, highchair toys etc or do you have to buy these yourself?
Lastly (for now!) which is better...the local authority or agency? I've read up on both and it seems people have different opinions on both but what is the difference with fostering between the two?

Sorry for so many questions!!! Any help would be greatly received

Thankyou so much smile

fasparent Sun 25-Dec-16 19:38:40

Would apply too a few LA's in 1st instance, some will have different criteria than others, sound a few out.
Will take time for final approval may be 12 months or so. With lots of training, training. Applies too all experienced or not.

DillyDayDream8 Sun 25-Dec-16 22:09:29

Merry Christmas

Being a lesbian couple, won't matter at all.
A bit overweight, won't matter but not sure about the fibromyalgia, although if you're the main carer it hopefully won't.

Not driving will be harder but as long as you can get to meetings and training and potential take the child to school then again it's doable.

I think the age will be the biggest barrier, our la are only recruiting carers for teenagers but every la is different.

Financially all are very different, I feel I get a good wage but some la's pay very little. You should get money for equipment.
Hope that answers most of your questions, good luck!

Kitsandkids Sun 25-Dec-16 23:25:48

Hi, welcome to the start of the journey!

Being lesbian won't matter so don't worry about that.

My husband and I are both a bit overweight but that wasn't a problem. Fibromyalgia I'm not too sure about but if you would be the main carer and the fibro wouldn't affect the care of the kids I think it would be ok.

You can request under 2s but most LAs have plenty of people who want to be 'baby carers' and I know mine doesn't generally place a baby with someone who's never had their own baby, though exceptions are sometimes made. I asked for under 12s with a preference for 0-8 and my first (and only as they're still with me) placement was brothers aged 5 and 6.

Renting's fine. We rent and to begin with only had 1 spare room but then moved to a bigger rented property.

I gave up work to foster and although on paper we were receiving about as much as my old wage in our fee and the children's allowance, obviously lots of that money was spent on the children so we did notice we were worse off for a while. Things improved a lot when we were made the children's long term carers as our weekly 'fee' increased by over a hundred pounds. Obviously most of the money is still spent on the children but it really helps to be able to afford trips out with them and not have to worry if you can afford it if you want to take them out to eat on the way home as you can't be bothered to cook! Ha ha!

I don't drive and the first year was a bit of a killer as I had to get them up and down to school every day by bus which was about a 2 hour round trip for me. As soon as I knew they were staying with me I enrolled them in a local school which is soooo much easier! But the LA won't mind if you don't drive, as long as you're willing to use buses etc.

You do get an allowance for equipment you need when they first come to you but generally you have to buy it first then get reimbursed later.

Generally the biggest difference between LA and agency is this the children are 'harder to place' when through an agency. When a child comes into care the LA always looks to see if they have a suitable LA carer available to take the child. If no one suitable, an agency is paid to find someone - which costs the LA lots of money so they only do it if they have to. This can mean that children with behavioural problems end up with agency carers because the LA carers have said no, or the child has been with LA carers and the carers can't cope and there's no one else. Agency carers get more money because often they are expected to deal with more issues. But, if there is a high influx of children coming into care it could just be the case that there simply isn't any LA carer free to take a child. In my LA anyway, it is rare for babies to be with agency carers.

Hope this has helped and good luck!

Ckaddict81 Mon 26-Dec-16 06:45:01

Thankyou so much for your comments, that's really informative, I will be doing lots more reasearch in the new year!

EnglishIrishRose Fri 30-Dec-16 09:51:14

Just wanted to say hello here from another lesbian couple who have just been approved. I don't drive, we rent and I am giving up my job (going freelance) to foster. I don't know if there is agency or temp work you could do, but they will want to know how you will manage financially without a placement as most agencies and some LA's do not pay a retainer when you are without child (this can be months).

Good luck! Make sure you do loads of research and ask any questions you have to the LA or agency, it's a two way process, you have to find out whether fostering is right for you as much as they need to find out whether you're right for fostering!

Just to add my tuppence about agency vs LA. Some private agencies make a lot of profit from vulnerable children and are a business primarily, just be aware of that as you apply. We looked at non-profit agencies and charities like TACT and Barnardos, and went with a non-profit agency in the end.

pklme Fri 30-Dec-16 09:53:24

Financially it depends on the kind of fostering. A few years ago our LA wouldn't let you foster if you were going to be dependent on fostering income. It puts you in a rough position if a placement isn't going well, and them in a rough position if they don't have anyone for you.

Some fostering is salaried though, so works differently.

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