Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Questions and Answers

1.     Can a Foster Child share a bedroom with one of my own children?

While it is ideal that a child will have their own bedroom, it is not essential. A health and safety check will be completed on your home as part of the assessment process and this will consider the suitability of your accommodation space.

2.     Would previous convictions prevent someone from fostering?

A previous conviction will not necessarily disqualify you from fostering, however, this would depend on the nature of the conviction and when it occurred, among other factors.

Certain offences such as indecency, importation/possession of indecent images of children or any other sexual offences will preclude an enquirer from being considered as a foster carer.

The guiding principal in processing applications where there are recorded convictions is that the safety and protection of children is paramount.

Garda vetting is completed early in the application process and it is important you disclose any convictions as soon as possible so as a decision can be made on whether or how it may affect your application.

3.     How much will I know about the child before they are placed in my care?

The Child and Family Agency will provide you with as much information as is possible before any child is placed in your care.  The purpose of this is to allow you and your family to make an informed decision on whether or not you are likely to be able to meet the child’s needs.

You need to be aware, however, that in emergency situations the Child and Family Agency have only limited information on the child in the very initial stages of the placement. As information is gathered it will be shared with you.

4.     What contact will I have with birth parents?

The main point of contact with birth parents will be at the child’s contact visits with their parents.  These visits usually, although not always, take place in a Child and Family Agency building and foster carers are expected to transport children to and from access visits, and religious and cultural events.

Foster carers will be expected to treat birth parents with respect at all times. Research shows that children in foster care do much better when their foster carers and birth parents can get along reasonably well.

It is very important that foster carers do not express any negative views about birth parents to the children in their care, as we know that this is very hurtful for children in foster care.

5.     Can I choose the age group or gender of child I wish to foster?

Yes, you can. However, this may depend on varying factors which will be discussed during your assessment such as your accommodation, age of your own children, your availability, your parenting experience etc.

6.     What does the fostering allowance cover?

The fostering allowance is provided in order to allow foster carers meet all of the child’s daily living needs e.g. food, clothing, school uniform, school books, extra-curricular activities, school trips, pocket money (depending on the age of the child), and treats such as toys/games/holidays.

7.     What if I can’t manage a child’s behaviour?

It’s important to remember that not all children in foster care will display behavioural problems, however, children who are taken into Child and Family Agency care have all suffered some type of trauma or loss.  Many children are resilient and, with a loving and stable environment, will thrive in foster care.  For other children, they may find it a little harder to cope with their situation.  You need to discuss any difficulties you may experience with the child’s social worker or your link social worker so that supports can be put in place early.  Foster carers need to display patience, understanding and a commitment to helping children overcome adversity.  Children can experience difficult times while in foster care but with good supports and committed foster carers these difficulties can be managed.

8.     Will training be provided?

Training is compulsory for all foster carers and all applicants will be asked to complete a fostering induction course prior to approval as a foster carer.

Throughout your time as a foster carer various training courses will be offered to you and we hope you will find these courses both interesting and enjoyable.

9.     Can I work and foster at the same time?

Consideration of approval of working applicants will be given, however, your availability to meet the child’s needs will have to be assessed.  For some children, an assessment of their needs may dictate that it will be necessary for one carer to be at home full-time.

Fostering is a demanding task at times.  Foster parents are expected to bring children to contact visits with their parents/siblings, to take children to school, to attend important meetings in relation to a child and to attend training.

A child in your care may also have extra needs which require specialist support e.g. speech therapy/physiotherapy.  Foster parents will also be expected to take children to these appointments.

If you intend to remain in employment while fostering you will need to think about your ability to meet all of these obligations while remaining in employment.

10.   Are there any medical conditions which prevent me from fostering?

Any significant health issues which may impact upon your ability to provide safe and stable care for a child may prelude you from fostering a child.  However, there will be instances in which approval will be possible.  The primary concern will be the impact, if any, of any condition upon a child in your care.

It is advised that, at the initial stages of application, you discuss your particular situation with a fostering social worker who will advise you on the best course of action.

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