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Become a foster carer

Father and daughter running in autumnal woods

With exciting new changes taking place for the Essex County Council Fostering service, it has never been a better time to register your interest. 

We value our foster carers and know that stable foster placements provide the best experience for our children in care. 

As a result we will be investing in the fostering service to ensure that we continue to support carers to provide the best outcomes for local children.

From 1 October 2018, Essex foster carers will access an increased financial and support package. 

As an Essex Foster Carer, the rewards are huge and we will work with you every step of the way during the sign up process

If you are thinking of fostering, think Essex County Council!

Frequently asked questions about our new fostering scheme

When will the changes come into effect?
The new scheme will go live on Monday 1 October 2018

Why are the changes being made?
It is anticipated that there will be a national and regional increase of children in care numbers over the next 10 years. Foster placements provide the best experience for children in care therefore a decision has been taken to invest in our own fostering service for children and young people in Essex.

How much more money are foster carers set to receive?
Fees will be paid per child per week according to the age of the child placed. For example a foster carer with a child aged 16 will receive £479 a week (including allowances). A foster carer on a specialist therapeutic scheme can expect to receive up £579 a week. For more information please visit the website (link to the fees page of the website).

What other allowances will I receive?
Fostering allowances will continue to be paid at the current level with an annual review and increase as appropriate

What extra support will foster carers receive?
Foster carers will also benefit from the following under the new scheme:

  • Increased intensive therapeutic support and training for all foster carers and supervising social workers. 
  • Dedicated clinical psychologists and mental health coordinators for each quadrant (within the next three years)
  • The introduction of increased local support schemes in each quadrant to including a better process for providing respite for foster families and children placed 
  • Increased opportunities for carers to be supported financially to extend their homes to provide more capacity.

How many foster families are needed in Essex?
At present around 100 families are needed in Essex to foster children with a particular need for foster carers for siblings, older children and children with disabilities.

Does this affect all carers?
All carers will be moved to the new scheme with the exception of those on the Therapeutic Fostering, Fee Paid short Breaks and PACE Bed Scheme.

Any carers whose individual circumstances mean they do not benefit from the new scheme are asked to speak to their fostering team, who will advise on the arrangements for carers in this situation. We will ensure that no foster carer is financially worse off.

Will we receive a new foster carer agreement?
All foster carers on the new scheme will receive a new and updated Foster Care Agreement

Will we still get a retainer for 28 days between placements?
Retainer payments will remain as they are now and will be paid at the rate of the last fee paid to you

Will hourly payments and expenses still be in place?
Hourly payments and expenses will remain in place –we will be undertaking a full consultation on the hourly payments over the next six months to review the criteria. There is no intention to end the hourly payments.

Myth busting

There are many myths surrounding who can foster, meaning that many people rule themselves out as possible foster carers unnecessarily.  Find out more about these common misconceptions by watching our foster carer tell their story in the film below.

Myth: I can't foster if I have a young family


Next > Can I foster?

Get in touch

or if you have a question call us on 0800 801 530