Foster care – fostering children as a foster carer / parent

Could you foster a child for the night after they've been charged with a crime?

Don't let a child spend a lonely night in a police cell

A police cell is no place for a child, regardless of what they've done. We're looking for people who are willing to provide overnight care to young people between 10 and 17, who have been arrested, before they attend court the following day.

The young people often have nobody else to turn to and you could be the difference between spending the night in a comfortable, caring environment or spending it in a police cell.

It's not as risky as it sounds

Don't worry, you'll only foster young people who have been assessed by a custody officer from a police station. Kids identified as posing a risk to the public won't be placed into overnight foster care under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE). You will be expected to accommodate the young person who "comes in" whilst you're on duty, though.

Young people remain in police custody whilst they're with you and can be returned to the police station at any time if they don't comply with the requirements of the placement.

You'll be paid for your time

You'll receive £237 for each week that you are "on duty" and if you're needed to care for a minor during a duty week, you'll receive an additional £113 per week, pro rata for each night you care for the young person (this works out at around £16.14 per night). If an arrest is made on a Saturday, you may need to care for the child until court on Monday morning.

You'll be fully trained and supported

When you apply, we'll assess you and will invite you to attend training so you'll be prepared for your new role.

We'll also ask you to attend a panel where your assessment will be presented for approval as a PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) foster carer.

If you're approved as a PACE foster carer, we'll support you by providing:

  • regular training: In addition to our general fostering training programme, you'll receive extra training specific for this role, such as safeguarding training to ensure your family is safe. We expect that you'll attend a minimum of four training courses per year
  • an allocated supervising social worker who will support and advise you through regular contact and supervision
  • the opportunity to be part of a team
  • a full programme of support via other foster carers including:
    • social groups
    • mentoring schemes
    • awards

What you need to be a PACE foster carer

Firstly, you need to be a caring and compassionate person. The kids need to be accepted for who they are and not judged on the crime they've been charged for.

Aside from a caring personality, you will:

  • have experience of working with or parenting teenagers who have presented challenging behaviour
  • have an ability to care for teens who may present complex behaviour including absconding/offending behaviour
  • demonstrate emotional strength and resilience and have the ability to withstand verbal abuse and rejection
  • have an ability not to take things personally and act in a professional manner under stress.

You will also need to have:

  • a spare bedroom
  • a valid, full, driving licence
  • access to a vehicle for driving the child around (be it collecting from police custody / a social care office or taking them to court)
  • great communication skills
  • An ability to empathise and engage with children and use positive behaviour strategies while putting in place firm and consistent boundaries.

Interested? Find out if you're eligible to foster

Check if you can foster

Telephone: 0300 300 8181