Foster Care for a Brighter Future

The fostering sector is in crisis as there’s a shortage of foster households. Why is fostering so important for some children and young people? We asked the experts from Nexus Fostering

What are the benefits to children in foster care?
Children come into care for several different reasons, for varying lengths of time and at different stages in their life. What they all have in common is their need for a safe and stable home environment with carers who are loving, understanding and flexible to accommodate their needs. From emotional support to teaching life skills, Nexus Fostering foster carers help children and young people thrive and develop into independent, well-rounded adults.

What are the benefits to carers?
Fostering a child can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for anyone with a passion for helping others. It’s not always easy, but the rewards come from seeing the positive difference you can make for some of the most vulnerable children and young people. Nexus Fostering offers carers round-the-clock support all year round, a comprehensive programme of training, and a competitive allowance and benefits in recognition of the support you provide to the child(ren) in your care.

Why is there currently a shortage of foster families?
The shortage of foster families is due to the increasing number of children entering care coupled with a decrease in foster families available. The population of foster carers has been declining for some time now. There’s an ageing population of carers with fewer younger people choosing to train as foster carers. In addition, recent financial pressures caused by the cost of living crisis have put extra pressure on household budgets with many foster carers returning to full-time work. However, with newly increased tax allowances for foster carers and more people looking to work from home, fostering is attracting new carers looking for a flexible and rewarding career that makes a life-changing difference.

What is the procedure for becoming a foster carer?
It starts with an informal chat with our fostering advisor followed by a visit to your home. Once we all agree fostering is right for you, the assessment starts which includes completing an application form and gathering background checks. You will also join other future carers for a training course to equip you with invaluable skills and knowledge to support you throughout your fostering journey.

The final stage includes an interview with a panel, then it’s the agency decision-maker who will make the final decision to approve you as a foster carer. Once approved, your dedicated social worker and our placements team work closely with you to ensure you’re well-matched with a child or young person who needs you.

What sort of families are suitable to become foster carers?
There really is no typical fostering household! Whether you’re an individual, couple, or family, foster carers from all walks of life are needed to provide suitable homes for children and young people in care. You’ll be surprised how everyday life skills and experiences equip you with transferable skills. There are some minimum requirements including a minimum age of 21, you need to be a UK resident or have indefinite leave to remain, and all foster homes need to have a spare bedroom. Although not a requirement, it is helpful to have some experience in caring for or working with children.

Why do so few potential foster families get through the application process?
The application process to become an approved foster carer is very comprehensive and thorough to ensure we are providing children and young people with carers that suit their needs and provide a thriving environment for each of them. The process can take up to six months to complete so some applicants’ circumstances may change during this time, and they choose not to progress. Others may not be suitable or choose to return at a later stage in life when they feel more ready to take on the role.

What support can be offered by a fostering agency?
Nexus Fostering foster carers are members of a professional team designed to offer the very best support and outcomes for every child in their care. With access to social workers, family support workers, clinicians, and specialists the wraparound support for foster carers and those they care for is there 365 days a year. In addition, carers can join monthly support groups with other foster carers and attend regular family social events. No Nexus Fostering foster carer is on their own.

If I am already a foster carer, can I transfer to Nexus Fostering?
Transferring to Nexus Fostering couldn’t be easier! If you are an approved foster carer currently registered with a fostering service provider, but you’re seeking more support in your role, then speaking to us about transferring to Nexus Fostering is a great place to start. We understand the importance of taking care of foster carers and their families so that they can provide the best care for children and young people. We’ll guide you through the process and support you every step of the way.
What’s the story behind Nexus Fostering?

Recently rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted for the fourth consecutive time, Nexus Fostering was established in London in 2002 by a group of colleagues and carers who felt it was possible to offer a professional and personal service to foster carers, children, young people, and local authorities. Our drive is to support the lives of children and young people looked after and ensure it is as great today as it was when we first evolved.

Where can I find out more about Nexus Fostering?
You can find out more about Nexus Fostering and becoming a foster carer by visiting or calling 0800 389 0143.

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