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Frequently asked questions

You might be wondering...

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What effect will fostering have on my family?

You and your family will find it very different having another child or young person in your home. We will always try to match the child with your family and make sure that you know as much as we do about them. How much it effects your family, largely depends on how open you are to new experiences and change. But very simply you will have another person to take into consideration in all your plans, routines and activities as well as having to meet their needs with regards to family contact, school etc.. "More can be better!"

What if my child and foster child don’t get on together?

We will do all that we can to match your whole family with the foster child before they come to you. You will be able to say no before the placement is agreed if you do not think that your child and the foster child would not get on. We do not want to set anyone up to fail! However, once the child is placed with you it is important that you encourage both children to get on. It would be unacceptable to agree to a placement and then end it because the children do not get on, unless there is a risk of harm which had not previously been identified. Children who are in foster care need stability and need to be wanted. Beta will always help you to achieve this for them.

Can a foster child come on holiday with us?

Generally the answer to this is yes, but there are some conditions depending on the legal status and the needs of the child or young person.

On each occasion you would need to get permission from the child's Social Worker and often their parent too. If you want to take the child abroad this will also require additional permissions.

However, it is very rare that a child or young person is refused permission to go on holiday and if the are placed with you long term it is highly unlikely that anyone would raise an objection.

What training will I get as a Foster Carer with Beta

Post approval we have a very full training programme, both face to face and online. Our own Clinical Psychologist provides significant amounts of training to ensure that all of our carers are trained in therapeutic parenting. We also have all mandatory training provided either in-house or we buy in external trainers who have specific expertise.

How is Beta an Ethical Fostering Agency?

We are a not for profit organisation whose ethics are to provide the best service to all our stakeholders. These range from our young people and carers, to our staff and purchasing authorities.
We aim always to be transparent, fair and honest about our business practices and our processes.

As with any business, we need to make a financial surplus in order to survive, but that surplus goes back into the company to provide stability and improve the resources and support we provide to children and young people as well as their carers. Additionally we make a donation to at least one local charity each Christmas, chosen by our young people.

We ensure that the charges we make to the placing authorities reflects best value and we fulfil the services that we offer. In order to make sure we can always offer good value, we regularly review the way we operate and the resources we have.

We acknowledge that our Foster Carers are our greatest asset and we are determined always to ensure that we offer the best matches, not only for the children and young people, but also for our Foster Carers and their families. Whilst we would wish to help and provide a placement for all children and young people in difficulty, it would be ethically wrong to accept a potential Foster Carer who was not fully able or committed to providing the best care. Likewise we will only accept a referred child/young person with the right match of placement to ensure they are able to reach their potential and to avoid the risk of failure for all concerned.

What sort of support will I get as a foster carer?

If you foster with Beta, you get a high level of support. Indeed, we have carers who have transferred to us from other agencies or local authorities, because we offer more support. Read all about our Biscuit Barrel on the home page and some of the comments from our carers. We provide 24 hour cover by a qualified social worker who will know all about you and the children you are caring for. Some agencies have a central call centre covering the whole country or a geographic region, e.g. you may be in Darlington, but someone in Manchester may be dealing with your problem if it is outside of normal office hours. With Beta you also have a number of other Foster Carers who are always willing to help and give you support.

You will have a Supervising Social Worker who will visit usually twice a month. If they are not available and you need some one urgently or to pass on information, there is always someone who can talk to you.

How much is the fostering allowance?

This depends on the age and the needs of the child. With Beta you will be paid a reward element, child maintenance/allowance element and an additional amount per week to be used for larger outgoings such as computers, holidays, birthdays etc. The fostering allowance/maintenance payment ranges from £145 to £220 per week which is higher than the recommended National Minimum Allowance even at London rates.

What does the weekly allowance cover?

The weekly allowance element of the carer payment is intended to be spent directly on the care of the young person. It is intended to cover all aspects of care such as, for example:

  • Food and clothing.
  • Household expenses – bills, laundry etc.
  • Local travel and mileage (this includes 150 miles per week, per child, for school and contact transport.)
  • Activities, treats, trips, presents (including transport to activities and social events.)
  • Young person’s pocket money, personal allowances, savings.

This should also be put towards budgeting for costs of holidays, Christmas, large items e.g. bikes, computers. But you are also provided with an additional sum of approximately £50pw to go towards these.

Will I be taxed on the allowance?

This can sometimes seem quite confusing for new Foster Carers, but we can point you in the right direction for help and advice.

Foster carers are treated as self-employed for tax purposes. There is a specific tax scheme foster carers can use called qualifying care relief. The scheme calculates a tax threshold unique to the fostering household which determines if a foster carer has to pay any tax from their fostering.

In effect Foster Carers are entitled to a tax exemption. There is a fixed tax exemption of up to £10,000 per year (less if for a shorter period) which is shared equally among any foster carers in the same household. This means you do not have to pay tax on the first £10,000 income (after expenses) you make from fostering.

See HMRC website for further guidance:

Will I have to pay National Insurance?

As a self employed person you must register to pay Class 2 National Insurance Contributions. However, how much you have earned will dictate whether you need to pay the amount or be exempt. Again we can point you in the right direction to manage this.

Further information about tax and national insurance is available HM Revenue and Customs website: