Fostering with us

How we will support you to be the best foster carer you can for children across Oxfordshire.

What fostering means

Every child’s story is different. Fostering provides a nurturing and safe environment for a child who is unable to live with their birth family. 

Foster children vary in age from babies to teenagers. Our foster carers offer them a place to call home for as long as they need it.  

Statement of purpose

The statement describes the service that Oxfordshire's Fostering Service provides.

What it takes to be a foster carer

To be a foster carer, you need to be willing to develop new skills. You'll work with a child's family, social workers and other professionals. Fostering means being part of a child-focused team.

As a foster carer, you will need sensitivity and flexibility. You'll need to understand and cope with challenging behaviour. You'll need determination and patience to work through the difficult times. Most of all, you need to have enough time in your life and space in your home to care for a child or teenager.

Your dedication will make a positive and long-lasting difference to the children and young people you foster. 

Meet some of our amazing foster carers and find out if fostering could be for you.

Read what’s stopping you from fostering if you are worried about any aspects of your life.

Support at every step

We will support you every step of the way on your journey to fostering.

Allowances and payments

To support the cost of looking after a child, we pay foster carers the following:

  • allowances 
  • expenses 
  • additional skills payment (in some cases). 

We pay allowances rather than salaries, so it is unlikely to affect your state benefits and your tax position. But you should inform the Benefits Office and tax authorities.

How much you'll get paid
Age of child Weekly allowance for 2020 to March 2021 per child
0 to 4 £157
5 to 10 £168
11 to 15 £208
16 to 18 £254

Payment for skills

Foster carers with additional skills and competencies receive extra payment. The payment is based on their experience and training. The scheme operates on four payment bands:

skill level Additional payment per week
Level 1 None. Receive the normal weekly allowance only.
Level 2 £150
Level 3 £200 for a child 0-10
£220 for a child 11-18
Level 4 £361 for a child from 3-11  

Skill levels

  • Level 2: carers have completed a number of training courses.
  • Level 3: caring for children with complex needs.
  • Level 4: caring for children with complex needs who are part of the Oxfordshire Treatment Foster Care scheme and is offered for children from age 3 to 11 only. Learn more about specialist fostering.

Additional allowances

In addition to a weekly payment, carers receive the following financial support:

  • Festivity, birthday and holiday allowances.
  • Essential fostering equipment.
  • Emergency clothing allowance.
  • Mileage and travel expenses.
  • Long service bonus.
  • Refer a friend scheme - foster carers can receive £250 if a recommendation they make provides a newly approved fostering household.

For more detailed information on allowances please see our allowances guidance booklet (pdf format, 715 KB).

How we support you as a foster carer

We give foster carers support, training and development opportunities. These are vital for effective foster caring. We offer you a fostering service all under one roof. It provides:

  • a recruitment team who will guide you through your foster carer journey
  • your own social worker
  • a social worker for the child
  • 24/7 telephone helpline.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • a variety of local training courses
  • the virtual school for education, learning, advice and support
  • extensive therapeutic support whenever you need it
  • regular local support groups 
  • peer support within your local fostering network.

Discounts and benefits

We have joined leisure providers to access activities at affordable rates. A range of benefits is offered including:

  • leisure centre discounts
  • Oxford United match tickets and other football events
  • Max card, discounts to many attractions across the country
  • trips and events organised by the Oxfordshire Foster Care Association (OFCA)
  • Fostering Network membership fees which provide further discounted days out and holidays.