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Family and Friends Fostering

When a child who is looked after by the Local Authority lives with a relative or friend instead of being placed with foster carers or in residential accommodation, these are known as "Family and Friends Carers".

What is Family and Friends Fostering? 

When a child becomes looked after by the Local Authority, either voluntarily, with the agreement of the parent(s), or as a result of a court order, the Local Authority has a duty to consider placing the child in the care of someone who is a family or a friend who already has a relationship with that child.

One of the ways a family member or friend can do this is by becoming a Family and Friends Foster Carer.  The majority of the Family and Friends Carers are grandparents, aunts and uncles, but they could also be older siblings and family friends. 

Family and Friends Carers must be approved foster carers, but they will be approved to look after a specific child or children. 

In an emergency, family members may be able to look after a child for a limited time under Regulation 38 of the Fostering Regulations, provided the Local Authority is satisfied that this arrangement is safe for the child.  There is a different assessment for this which looks at whether the arrangements are suitable and safe in the immediate circumstances.

Becoming a Family and Friends Carer

To be approved as a Family and Friends Carer, you will need to go through an assessment process.  This process usually takes around 16 weeks and will include the completion of forms, a number of visits to your home and checks with other people and organisations. 

It is essential that we have time to get to know you and your family and fully consider whether you will be able to meet all the child's needs.  It also gives us time to look with you at what other support is available and what might help you in your role.  Although some people do find this process difficult or stressful, most recognise its value and know that it's worth it in the end.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will you need to ask me about?

We'll need to ask you about your background and childhood, previous and current relationships/marriage, support networks, experience as a parent and your relationship with the child's family.   You will also need to provide details of your income.

What will you want to see when you visit my home?

We will need to look at the accommodation you intend to provide for the child(ren) to make sure that it is suitable.  We will carry out a health and safety check of your home, which will include an assessment of any pets.

Who else will you need to contact?

We'll need to get in touch with your children, your current partner and any significant ex-partners, two personal friends and possibly some other family members.  We'll also need to contact your employer.  If you have children living with you, we'll need to contact their school, health visitor and / or any professional involved with them.

What other checks will you need to do?

Everyone in your household aged 16 and over will have to have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check.  (A police check.) 

You will be asked to complete a fostering medical examination with your GP.

Will I get any financial support?

Family and Friends carers receive a weekly allowance to cover the everyday and regular expenses associated with caring for a foster child eg food, clothing, transport, leisure activities and pocket money.  The exact amount depends on the age of the child. There are also additional payments to cover special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas.  The allowance is paid into your bank account fortnightly, a week in advance and a week in arrears.

We will discuss individual arrangements for financial support with you in more detail during the assessment process.

What support will you get from the Local Authority?

During the assessment period you will be offered a one day Family and Friends Initial Training course.  The main purpose of this course is to explain more about your role as a foster carer, including legal information, working with the Local Authority and how you will support the child(ren) you will be caring for.

Once you are approved, you will be expected to attend other training courses, some of which are aimed at all the Local Authority's foster carers and some which are specifically for Family and Friends Carers.

You will also have the opportunity to attend support groups and meet other carers in similar positions.

There is also a youth group for children aged 7 + who live with family and friends carers. This is held during one day in all school holidays.

You will have the support of a fostering social worker who will visit you on a regular basis.  This is in addition to the child(ren)'s social worker, who will be able to discuss the child's support needs with you and work out what support may be needed.

Contact us

If you have any queries, worries or concerns, please contact the Family and Friends Duty Social Worker on 01792 635493.  You could also contact the child(ren)'s Social Worker.

Further information

Children in Wales has produced a Kinship Care GuideOpens new window which has a lot of useful guidance for family and friends carers.

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