Frequently asked questions about fostering

Newcastle Fostering Service welcomes enquiries from people interested in becoming a foster carer in the North East of England within 50 miles of the city. This includes Sunderland and the rest of Tyne and Wear, most of Northumberland, some of Cumbria and North Yorkshire, and the whole of County Durham.

Below are some frequently asked questions about fostering in the UK, including those who can and can't get involved, and about how to foster a child with the support of Newcastle City Council.

Q. I've had lots of problems in my personal life - can I still foster? Yes. Your tough times will give you a much better understanding of the problems faced by young people.

Q. Will I be asked lots of personal questions by social workers? Yes, but all the questions will be linked to your skills and abilities as a parent and carer. A social worker will get to know you, and, over time, you will form a trusting relationship with them. All information you give will be confidential.

Q. Will I receive any financial help? All our foster carers receive a regular allowance for each child they care for -- up to £400 per week, per child. In the case of children with more complex needs, you may receive an additional allowance. Benefit advice for foster carers

Q. Can I foster if I smoke? Our service follows the CORAM BAAF guidelines and therefore we don't place children under 5 with people who smoke. Any new applicants who currently smoke are encouraged to quit smoking in line with healthy lifestyles.

Q. I'm a little bit overweight - can I still foster? Yes. The medical assessment that all foster carers undergo shows if this will cause any problems.

Q. Do I have to be married with children of my own? No, we value each individual's commitment, enthusiasm and energy over their personal circumstances.

Q. I'm gay - can I still foster? Yes. We consider applications from gay and lesbian individuals or couples. The application process is exactly the same.

Q. Do I have to own my own home? Do I need to live in a house with a garden? The answer to both questions is no. You can live in a privately rented or council rented property. The property can be either a house or a flat although small children do like to run around in a garden. All we expect is that the fostered child will have their own bedroom.

Q. I work full-time - can I still foster? Yes but the hours you work may help determine what kind of fostering you're able to do.

Q. I have a criminal conviction - will I still be able to foster? We need to know of all previous criminal convictions. There are some convictions of a serious nature that would make it impossible for us to place children with you.

Q. Will children I foster stay in contact with their 'birth' families? Most fostered children will stay in contact with their 'birth' families. This could be through visits or in writing. Your social worker will talk to you about this. We have a legal duty to promote positive contact with 'birth' families.

Q. Does it matter where I live? We recruit foster carers who live outside Newcastle within a 50-mile radius, as well as those who live locally. This area includes the major towns of Sunderland, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington, and the City of Durham. It covers Tyne and Wear, the majority of Northumberland, part of Cumbria and North Yorkshire, and all of County Durham.

The best thing to do is complete our on-line application form and we can take it from there.

If you have any other questions or would like an informal chat about fostering, please call 0191 277 2430.

Apply to become a foster carer

If you live in the North East and you'd like to become a foster carer, please complete our fostering application form or call 0191 277 2430.

Foster a Future
Wellbeing, Care and Learning
Newcastle City Council
Civic Centre
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 8QH

Phone: 0191 277 2430
Fax: 0191 277 2421
Email: fostering@newcastle.gov.uk