There are many things you need to know before becoming a foster carer. That’s why we’ve put together answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about fostering to help you decide whether it’s right for you.

If you still have a question that we haven’t answered below, please get in touch and one of our team will be happy to help.

What is fostering?

Fostering is a way of providing a safe and stable family home for someone else’s child when they’re unable to live with their own family. It can be short term or long term and can last for days, months or years. There are different types of fostering placements available.

Although many children eventually return home to their birth families, some will need long term support.

Can I apply to become a foster carer?

Our foster carers come from a range of backgrounds and we welcome carers of any race, religion, income and marital status. We’re looking for people who can provide a safe, caring and supportive environment for children and young people.

However, we do have three common-sense criteria:

  • You’ll need enough space in your home to comfortably accommodate a child and their belongings
  • You’ll need to be over the age of 25
  • You’ll need to be able to commit to fostering full time

More information on how to become a foster carer can be viewed here.

Can I foster if I have a criminal conviction?

You cannot foster a child if you have a recent conviction of any kind or a historical conviction for any offence of violence.

What kind of checks will you carry out on me and my home?

We carry out a number of checks as part of the application process. These include:

  • Criminal records check on all members of your household over the age of 18
  • Medical check from your GP
  • Household safety check
  • Personal references
  • Checks with MSD and the Ministry of Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki

I’m going to be the main foster carer do you need to carry out checks on other family members?

Yes we carry out checks on all members of your household.

Can I still go out to work and be a foster carer?

In order for looked after children to receive the high quality care they deserve, we expect our primary carers to make a full time commitment to fostering and be available as they would for their own children. We also require the primary carer to make themselves available for support groups and training.

In some cases it’s still possible to continue working but this depends on your individual circumstances. For more information please contact us.

Can a foster child share a bedroom with one of my own children?

Children of the same gender and similar ages can, in some circumstances, share a bedroom, but this is subject to safety plans.

Can I choose which age group or gender I would prefer to foster?

Yes you can, though it’s worth bearing in mind that many of the children referred to us are teenagers. You’re more likely to have continuous placements if you’re willing to take children of all ages.

Can I choose how long I want a child or young person to stay with me?

During the assessment process, we will help you to decide which types of fostering placement suit you best. It isn’t always possible to know how long a child may stay with you, especially with emergency and temporary placements, but we’ll keep you informed by passing on all the information we can.

How much will I know about the child or young person before they are placed with me?

We’ll give you all of the information we have about potential placements before you decide whether to take them or not. Sometimes, such as with emergency placements, we’ll only have limited information to share with you. In this case, we’ll find out as much as we can as quickly as we can to keep you updated.

How long will it take for me to have my first placement?

You can begin taking placements as soon as you’ve been approved as a foster carer. There’s no set timeframe from approval to first placement this depends on your flexibility and our careful matching process.

Who is responsible for taking the children to school or the doctor?

As a foster carer, you’ll be responsible for carrying out day-to-day tasks such as taking children to school and medical appointments. However, on the odd occasion that you have a problem, your supervising social worker will help you make alternative arrangements.

For more information about becoming a foster carer with Key Assets please call 09 263 5151 or fill out our online enquiry form.