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Foster with us

80,080

children are in care in England

72%

live with foster families

44,500

foster families in England

St Christopher’s is a charity that works with hundreds of children and young people each year. We’re looking for passionate and enthusiastic people to become foster carers in the West Midlands and the Eastern Region.

 

If you’re from a local authority and want to create brighter futures for children with our foster families, please visit this page for more information.

Learn about foster care

What is foster care?

Fostering is when a child or young person comes to live with you in your home. Children move into foster homes for many reasons, usually because they are unable to live with their own family. The most important thing to remember is that it is never through any fault of the child or young person, and that they deserve the same care and love as any other child.

Watch the video on the left to learn the answers to some common fostering questions.

Types of foster care

Long-term fostering

Fostering can achieve amazing results for children and young people. It replicates family life and offers stability, safety and security. By matching a young person to the right foster parent for them, we can make sure the long-term placement works for both parties.

Young people can remain with your family for years, sometimes their whole childhood. Stable relationships are really important for children, so we will support you and the child in your care to make sure everyone in your family is happy.

Short-term fostering

This can be a viable option for young people waiting to be adopted or who have come into care on an emergency basis. They can live with foster carers for up to a couple of months whilst awaiting a more permanent placement or going back to live with their family.

Parent and child fostering

Sometimes a new parent may need extra support to look after their baby, so they move in with a foster carer for a set period of time. With the support of their foster carer, the parent can learn the skills they will need for the future, before moving onto living independently.

Staying Put

Fostering is for children age 0-18 but sometimes young people can stay with their foster carer past their 18th birthday. This is called Staying Put and gives a young person more time to prepare for living independently, with the support of their foster carers.

Respite fostering

Unfortunately we do not recruit respite only carers, as we are looking for foster families who can look after young people full-time.

Who can foster?

Foster carers need to be empathetic, compassionate and patient. As every child is different with their own individual needs, we welcome prospective foster carers of all sexualities, marital statuses, religions and life experiences so that we can find the perfect match for every young person.

You will need to:

  • Live in the West Midlands or the Eastern Region
  • Have one or more spare bedrooms
  • Be over 21 years of age
  • Have capacity to travel (e.g. a driving licence or willingness to use public transport)
  • Some experience with children and young people, either through raising your own family or through your job.
Is there an age limit on fostering?

There is no age limit for someone to become a foster carer. We have St Christopher’s foster carers of all ages, from their twenties to their seventies.

We recognise that older people can bring a lot of life experience to fostering that could come in useful when looking after a child, just as younger foster carers may have a better understanding of the issues facing today’s young people.

Can you be a single foster parent?

Yes! Your marital status has no impact on your fostering application. Some young people are actually better suited to living with only one parent, so we need single foster carers just as much as couples.

Because St Christopher’s is a small fostering agency, it means we can offer extra support that larger organisations can’t give. As a single carer you will need a good support network of family and friends around you to help out, but our team are on hand 24/7 to help with anything else you might need too.

Do you welcome LGBTQ+ applicants?

Of course – whether you’re single or in a couple, we encourage applications from the LGBT community. Sometimes a child may feel more comfortable with a gay foster carer as they will have a better understanding of their experiences and the support they need.

Do you accept foster carers of all religions?

Yes, we do. Although St Christopher’s was founded as a Christian organisation, we no longer have religious ties. We welcome foster carers from all faiths and backgrounds and use this information to match a child to the right foster family.

Foster parents have to be open to the religious needs of the young person they are caring for, whether it’s by taking them to religious venues or celebrating special events.

Can I transfer from my fostering agency to St Christopher's?

We accept transfer applications from existing foster carers. Get in touch with us to find out how the process works.

What’s it like to be a foster parent?

Foster carers do all the things that good parents do – help children with homework, support them if they are upset, and show them what life can be like in a happy family. They give young people the opportunity to enjoy their childhood in a safe, caring home.

As they grow older, you will teach a young person the skills they’ll need for living independently. Whether it’s cooking, paying bills or generally looking after themselves, foster carers are there even for the small things.

Watch the video on the left to hear from Keith, a St Christopher’s carer, about his experiences of fostering.

Support and training

Because we are an independent fostering charity, we can offer an extra level of support. Our team are there to support your entire family in a way that works for you.

You will undertake introductory training to prepare you for becoming a foster carer, with regular training available throughout your fostering career.

More information about support and training

Allowances and fees

People become foster carers to help children and young people, but receiving their fostering fee stops them having to worry about the practical things in life, like paying bills and buying groceries.

As St Christopher’s is a charity, any surplus money we make is put straight back into the children and young people we work with.

 

Learn more

Application process

There are five parts to the application process to become a foster parent with St Christopher’s and it usually takes around six months to complete the process and be approved.

As we are a small fostering agency, we can spend time supporting you during the application process.

 

Learn more

Frequently Asked Questions

Read answers to some of the most frequently asked fostering questions.

What is the difference between fostering and adoption?

Adoption is when you become the legal parent of a child who cannot live with their family. Fostering is looking after someone else’s child, whether for a short or longer period of time.

Find out more about what it’s like to foster in our online fostering guide.

Why do I need a spare room for each foster child?

It’s important for children and young people to have space that is their own so they can invite people in or have time to themselves.

Very young brothers and sisters can share a room if they are part of a sibling group.

Do I need to own my own home?

No, you can foster if you live in rented accommodation. We’ll just need to check that your tenancy is stable and your home is suitable.

Do I get a say in the age range and gender of the children I will look after?

St Christopher’s works with children of all ages, genders, ethnicities and religions. We use a matching system to choose the most appropriate carer and work with you to make sure you feel able to care for the young person. If there are any areas you feel uncertain about our team will provide additional support or training so that you are confident in your skills and can provide the right care.

We particularly need foster parents to care for teenagers and sibling groups of younger children.

Enquire about fostering

If you’d rather call us yourself then please ring 0800 234 6282

"We have a home full of laughter"

Have you ever thought about becoming a foster carer and looking after children who cannot live with their own families? Dave and Jackie are foster parents in the West Midlands. They have been fostering for ...

Fostering stories

Enquire about fostering here