Frequently asked questions about fostering | Oxfordshire County Council

Frequently asked questions about fostering

Information you may want to know about fostering a child.

Will I have a say in who I foster?

Ideally all placements of children will be well-matched and planned, but ultimately a foster carer has the right to turn down placements.

What if we don’t get on with the children?

Some children will fit in better with your family than others and some will also take longer to adjust to living in your home. However, if there was a real problem, then you must discuss this with your supervising social worker. The likelihood is that if you are finding things difficult then the child may also be feeling this is not the right place for them.

Hopefully with extra support or training, caring for that child or young person becomes easier and more enjoyable. However, sometimes, it may be best for a child to move to another foster family.

Where can I get independent advice?

The Fostering Network run a Advice and Mediation service. Your local Advice and Mediation Worker is called Ruth Hubble. Her role is to offer confidential, independent advice and support to foster carers.

Her contact details are:

Jayne Hogan-Birse, Mobile 07795 075496

Can I smack a foster child?

No. Foster carer should not smack or administer any corporal punishment to a foster child.

Do foster carers pay income tax?

The current rules mean many UK foster carers now pay no tax on the money they earn from fostering. Foster carers can be exempt from tax on all or most of their fostering income, depending on:

  • how many children they look after
  • whether or not it is a full tax year
  • whether or not there are other foster carers in the same household.

Find more information on the HMRC website

Should I register as being self-employed?

Yes. When you start fostering you must let HM Revenue and Customs know. In other words, you need to register as self-employed. If you don't you may be charged a penalty.

There are three ways to register as self-employed:

  • online, using a computer and the Internet
  • by telephone - by contacting the:

Newly Self Employed Helpline 0845 915 4515

  • in writing - by filling in a form CWF1.

A new online tool, Tax for Foster Carers, has been launched to help foster carers register with HM Revenue and Customs as self-employed.  This is useful e-learning course to assist our carers with registering as self-employed – the Fostering Network can also support with this issue via the members helpline: 020 7401 9582.

Any of our new foster carers that were approved between 6 April 14 and 5 April 15 need to register with HMRC by 5 October 15. The Fostering Network has assisted in the development of this tool, which features an eLearning course and guide to support foster carers new to self-assessment.

You can access the guide and eLearning course via their website. Newly self-employed helpline - 0845 915 4515.

Or talk to adviser from Fosterline - 0800 040 7675.

HM Revenue and Customs website

What about insurance?

When you become a foster carer you must inform both your home and car insurance company in writing. You will need to ensure that you have fully comprehensive car insurance.

The Fostering Network now provides legal protection insurance cover for foster carers and former foster carers who look after a young person up to the age of 21, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. The policy covers legal costs arising as a result of your work as a foster carer only.

What do I do if the child I am caring for is self-harming?

There is some really helpful advice for carers on this subject on the National Self Harm website it has some good ideas about distraction techniques.

What is delegated authority?

Foster carers will often find they need the authority to make certain day to day decisions, such as whether the child they are caring for is allowed to stay overnight with a particular friend, or whether she or he can go on a school trip.

Delegated authority is the term used when the responsibility for making these types of day to day decisions about a child has been passed to the foster carer.

Prior to the child/children being placed there will be a placement planning meeting where delegated authority will be decided, this will include information detailing situations where they will be able to make decisions regarding the child without prior discussion with their social worker.

For more information on delegated authority read information in the foster carers handbook and policy information.

There is also some useful information about decision making from the Fostering Network.

If you cannot see your question then there are many other ways that you could get help.

Last reviewed
31 October 2017
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