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Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions about foster care and Key Assets. For any further information that you are unable to find through this website, please contact us today and speak to someone from the Key Assets Fostering team.
1. What is the difference between fostering with a Private Fostering Agency or directly through Children’s Aid Societies?
Children’s Aid Societies are ultimately responsible for the well-being of all children in public care. They need to find the best way of looking after these children to make sure that they receive the best possible standard of care.
Private Fostering Agencies such as Key Assets provide a fostering service to Children’s Aid Societies and work in partnership with them. We provide specialist foster care and have our own foster carers, social workers, therapists, child and youth counsellors and education staff who work hard to ensure that the needs of the carers and children are met to a high standard and without delay.
2. Who can apply to become a foster carer?
Anyone can apply to become a foster carer with Key Assets. We recruit foster carers of all backgrounds and cultures who are single, married, co-habiting, divorced, gay, lesbian and heterosexual. We also recruit foster carers from any religion or ethnic group.
You don’t need qualifications. In fact, many people choose fostering after raising a family or they are looking for change in their life. And while parenting experience can come in handy, it’s not essential. What’s more important is that you’re passionate about changing a child’s life and eager to make a difference.
However, there are a few things you’ll need to proceed:
3. Would a previous criminal conviction prevent someone from fostering?
A criminal conviction from your past would not necessarily disqualify you from fostering. It all depends on the nature of the conviction and when it occurred. It is standard procedure for us to check criminal records through Vulnerable Sector Police Screening at an early stage in the application process so we would need you to discuss any convictions with us as soon as possible. All information shared with Key Assets remains strictly confidential at all times.
4. What sort of checks are carried out on me and my home?
As part of the application process, we’ll carry out a number of references and checks. These include:
5. If I am going to be the main foster carer, do you need to carry out checks on my partner?
At Key Assets Fostering, we consider all couples living together to be partners in the fostering process, so we would require that you both have the necessary checks and training and that you both fully take part in the assessment process. Even if you are the main foster carer, anyone sharing your home will have some involvement in and influence on the fostering task.
We will also need to carry out the necessary checks on all adult members of the household 18+.
6. Can a child I foster share a bedroom with one of my own children?
At Key Assets we will only place a child in a home where he or she will have their own bedroom (unless they are a same gender sibling group).
7. Can I still go out to work and be a foster carer?
At Key Assets, we think that the high quality care, which we consider every one of our children and youth need, is best achieved by having one carer at home full time. Our carers are part of a professional and dedicated team and we offer you a professional fee which reflects your commitment and the challenges of the work. We do recognize however, that some carers wish to continue to work part time, or work from home. In such cases, we may agree to process the application so long as the carer is available to prioritise the child’s needs, including being available during school holidays, attending meetings and training and that the carer’s work does not impact on the quality of care provided.
8. Can I choose how long I want children and youth to stay with me?
Before you are approved as a carer with us, we will have discussed the different types of placements that are needed. You can decide which type of placements would suit you best. If you would prefer emergency or temporary placements, you do need to be aware that it isn’t always possible to know at the beginning of a placement exactly when a child will move on.
9. Can I choose which age group or gender I would prefer to foster?
It is possible to have some say in the age group or gender of the child you foster. You do need to bear in mind, however, you are far more likely to have continuous placements if you are willing to take a child of any age or gender. We match each family and child as carefully as possible taking into account the needs of the child and the skills you have to offer as foster carers.
Children and youth who are fostered can be in any age from birth to 18 years old. The majority of the children referred to Key Assets are 8+.
10. How much will I know about the child or youth before they are placed with me?
We discuss every placement with our carers and it is your decision as to whether to take a child. We will provide you with as much information about the child and his/her background as possible, including any difficult behaviour and how to manage it. You do need to be aware that sometimes we have very little information, especially in an emergency. We would always, however, seek to find out quickly as much as possible.
11. Who is responsible for taking the children to school and to the doctor, etc.?
We expect foster carers to be responsible for transporting children and youth to their appointments as part of their role.
12. Are we allowed to spank foster children?
Key Assets does not accept spanking foster children, or utilizing any other form of corporal punishment. We provide comprehensive training to all of our foster carers on alternative and effective ways to cope with difficult behaviour.
Fostering regulations state that spanking, slapping, shaking, or any other form of corporal punishment, is not permitted.
13. What sort of help would I get with a child who has special needs or a disability?
If you foster a child with on-going medical needs or physical disabilities, these will be explained to you in depth before the placement begins. You will have access to comprehensive training and support services from Key Assets to help you care for any child with specific needs.
14. What fee/allowance will I receive and how is this decided?
You will receive a total of $77.25 per day while a foster child is in your care. This amount covers the child’s expenses as well as the carer’s allowance. Generally one third ($25) of the daily allowance will be spent on the foster child.
15. What does the fee/allowance cover?
The fostering allowance takes into account the costs of living with a foster child. Some of these costs include:
16. If I decide to apply, how long will I have to wait before my first placement?
The length of the assessment process is usually 4-6 months. Once you are approved as a foster carer, your placements can begin immediately.
17. How do I find out more?
For more information about becoming a foster carer with Key Assets, contact your local office today.