Becoming a Foster Carer

Who can foster?

Our foster carers come from all backgrounds, cultures and religions – they are as diverse as the children needing foster families.

There are some essential criteria:

  • You must be over 25 years of age
  • You must have a spare bedroom
  • You must have a full drivers licence and access to a car

Contact us now to discuss further

How to become a foster carer

Assessment Process

Because foster parents provide a substitute family life for children in need they must undergo a thorough screening process to ensure that children placed in their homes will find a safe and nurturing environment. The stages of assessment are shown below.

There are seven stages in your journey to becoming a foster carer:

  • 1. Initial Contact: After registering your interest with us either by email of phone, we’ll give you a call back to discuss your enquiry. This will be just an informal chat to explore further your interest in fostering and explain the process.

  • 2. Home Visit: A social worker will visit your home to talk more about the needs and challenges of children who require foster care and answer any questions. The social worker will also explain how our agency works and the support we offer to our foster carers

  • 3. Application Form: You’ll need to complete an application form, which gives us detailed information about you and your family, and also requests your consent for us to complete necessary checks and enquiries to determine your suitability to foster.

  • 4. Checks: We’ll carry out a series of background checks; criminal checks from all countries you and your partner have lived in , enquiries to the Child and Family Agency (CFA), we will ask your G.P. to complete a medical form, financial checks, home safety check, references and other enquiries as necessary before beginning the full assessment process

  • 5. Assessment: Once your background checks have been completed our social worker will begin your fostering assessment. They will visit your home between 6 and 10 times to collect information about you, your family and any experience you have that will help you with fostering. They will then complete a full written report which will be agreed and signed by you and the social worker.

  • 6. Training: You’ll be required to attend our Foundation for Fostering course that will give you a full understanding of the fostering role and task.

  • 7. Approval: After your Fostering Assessment Report has been completed, it will be presented to the Child and Family Agency Foster Care Committee in your area for approval.

Oak Lodge social workers will be available to you to discuss any concerns or worries you may have during this process. They will offer support and guidance throughout the whole process.

Matching children and carers

After you are approved as a foster carer by the Foster Care Committee you will then be matched with a child. The abilities and experience of the foster carers are matched with the individual needs of children to ensure the best possible outcome for the child within the foster placement. Foster carers are supported in their care of the children by the whole team.

Supports and Training

Oak Lodge is dedicated to supporting our foster carers with the fostering task. We are a small agency and therefore know all our foster carers well and encourage them to contact us with any queries or concerns they might have.

If you contact us outside of office hours because you are concerned about a child in your care; the on call worker will be a member of our team that knows you, your family and the child well. Foster carers tell us that knowing the person on the end of the phone line is reassuring.

We are available to our carers to discuss any issues that arise; sometimes just talking it through is enough and other times we need to put practical supports in place to help get through a challenging situation.

We can tailor all our services to suit a foster carer’s individual needs.

  • We offer ongoing training to all our foster carers
  • We have a support worker available to provide practical support on a day to day basis
  • We provide regular contact and supervision with dedicated Link Worker.
  • We provide paid respite
  • We provide 24 hour, 365 days a year on call support from qualified social workers
  • We offer regular clinical support groups to all our foster carers

Financial Allowances

The fostering allowance is currently €325 per week for children under 12 years of age and €352 for children over 12 years of age.

This allowance is paid directly from Oak Lodge Fostering Services to your bank account and is a tax free allowance. You will be provided with an information sheet about what the allowance covers but basically it is to meet all the costs of caring for a child.

Already Approved to Foster?

If you are already approved as a Foster Carer with another agency or the Child and Family Agency and wish to transfer we can discuss this with you in confidence.

This is a relatively straightforward process, please feel free to contact us to discuss the benefits of fostering with Oak Lodge, with no obligation.

Should you decide to proceed with a transfer one of our social workers will guide you through the process.

Contact Us