We are a family company who has had experience of fostering so we understand what foster carers need and aim to provide that service at all times. We have built an excellent reputation with over the last 22 years in supporting foster carers to transform thousands of children’s lives.
You’ll get to know the whole team as we’re committed to making all placements work, helping you develop your skills through our training program and courses during your fostering career.
We have a dedicated children’s services team to help look after the children and young people in your care.
We also offer two holiday homes that can be used by our foster carers to take time to relax between placements or take the children and young people in their care away to create memories.
We work alongside the local authorities. We all have the same end goal.
How it works is that the local authority calls us when they cannot find a suitable home for a child or young person within their pool of carers.
The main difference is a smaller company like ours can give you a lot more personal assistance during your whole fostering career. Chrysalis Care is a family organisation run by previous foster carers. It feels like being part of a large family.
We offer 24/7 support, 365 days a year with a professional yet personal team, so you’ll never feel like you’re lost in a system.
Local Authorities are seeking to place children from their own LA…at CC we receive referrals from many local authorities resulting in hundreds of referrals per week.
Yes, fostered children do need their own room, though sometimes siblings can share a room together.
The recruitment, training and approval process generally takes around 4 – 6 months.
It starts with your application and then a visit to you at your home which allows us to get to know you better and see your home and the bedroom you can offer for fostering.
You will then be invited to our Skills to Foster course with other potential carers.
After this stage, and if all parties are happy to procced, we start all of the statutory checks, i.e. medical, DBS etc and you’ll be paired with an independent assessor.
The assessor will complete a 2-3 month assessment and create your ‘Form F’, which is basically a portfolio all about you.
Once this is completed, you will then meet our fostering panel with your assessor. The panel’s job is to understand your potential as a foster carer, and they will make a recommendation about your suitability.
The recommendation is then passed to our Agency Decision Maker, who will decide and give you their decision of your approval.
It is also important to remember that the team at Chrysalis Care is always contactable to help you through your application process.
Renting your home does not stop you from fostering, though you may need the permission of your landlord.
Chrysalis Care welcomes single carers. Whilst you will benefit from the support of family and friends as a foster carer, some children will enjoy the focused attention a single carer can provide.
It is very important that your partner is in agreement, involved in the process and also keeps up to date with courses as you will need their emotional support.
If you have your own children you may need your partner to look after them while you attend meetings or appointments, sometimes with the foster child.
It’s also important that everyone who lives in your home is aware of fostering, how it works, and what is expected of them as fostering will affect the whole family in some way.
Yes, and we do have carers that work as well as foster. Or if they are fostering as a couple, one person works full time and the other is the main carer for the children in placement. If you are a single carer, we do prefer that fostering is your only role. We have many single foster carers who manage this really well with part-time or zero hour contract roles and who would be happy to talk to you about how they have done this. Although as a single you may not be able to continue in a FULL-time job role. This is due to availability. As a foster carer you would have to be ‘on call’ like you would with your own child, but you will need to attend more meetings on behalf of, or with a child. These include LAC (looked-after child) reviews, extra school meetings, CAMHS or contact meetings with their own family. We always try and make these meetings work for everyone, but it is important that ultimately the needs of the child come first.
We do understand that people have bills to pay, and some of our carers have zero-hour contracts, part time work, or very flexible employers that understand how important fostering is, so it is may be worth speaking to your employer about it as they may be flexible.
If you are approved by us, we can provide you with a letter to give to your employer explaining what fostering is, in support of your request, although any decision is of course at their own discretion.
Chrysalis Care generally prefers the main carer to be not working, however we do consider the merits of individual cases. The task of fostering does demand a great deal of time and commitment from carers and so any work arrangements would need to be very flexible and allow you to meet all the needs of the child.
Chrysalis Care prides itself on the support it gives to foster carers, who we see as part of our team. Foster carers with the right attitude, who are well trained and well supported make placements work.
At Chrysalis Care, we’ll support you every step of the way throughout your fostering career.
From 9.30am to 5.30pm our office team is on hand to answers any questions you may have about your placements, finance, courses and training, or just to provide general advice.
Outside of our office hours, we provide 24/7 support 365 days a year over the phone, when there is always a supervising social worker available to take enquiries from foster carers and also local authorities that need help with emergency placements.
Above all this will be your own allocated supervising social worker who is there to help and guide you and be your main port of call.
“If the child in my care runs away or asks difficult questions about their family etc, who can I get advice from?”
At Chrysalis Care, we will provide training throughout your whole fostering career to help you prepare for, tackle and learn how to deal with most situations.
You would contact your supervising social worker for guidance to help you, depending on the scenario. If your supervising social worker is unavailable, you can call our main office where there will always be a member of the team to speak with.
It is important to remember that we provide an out of hours telephone service staffed by a supervising social worker, to support you as a foster carer.
“If I get really stuck, or there is an emergency and I cannot attend a meeting or get to a school on time, do I get any support?”
Yes, we are always there to try and help. You would need to contact your supervising social worker, and they will try to support you themselves or arrange the support you need, whether it’s a respite carer or our own children’s services team.
“Do I have to go all the meetings regarding the child or young person in my care, or is this done by the social worker?”
You will need to attend most of the meetings because you are the ‘professional parent’ and the child/young person’s advocate.
We will always do our best to make sure your supervising social worker attends these meetings with you to support you.
It is important that you are there as you are the main carer and all decisions will affect your role as well as the child.
As your relationship develops with the child in your care, it is important that you have some say in matters as you will get to know them best and be their voice at meetings that they will not be present for.
Some may be attended by your supervising social worker, but you will always be informed of everything that is discussed as it affects the child in your care.
Do I get any choice about which children come to stay with me? And “How much will you tell me before I decide to accept a foster child?”
We will tell you everything we know about the child or young person that will come into your care.
The local authority provides us with all the details of the child/young person, and our duty officer goes through it with you. You always have the right to say yes or no to a potential placement.
We have a duty of care to our carers and the children in our care at all times, therefore we do all we can to avoid placement breakdowns and we take pride in getting the matching process right.
You also have to remember that as a foster carer you may find out more details or behaviors from a child/young person during their time in your care as they start to confide in you.
It’s part of your responsibility to share these with us, the child’s own social worker, your supervising social worker so that we can work together in managing this.
Chrysalis Care believes that it is essential to try to match the needs of the children with the skills and abilities of the carers. When we get a referral, if we feel that you might be suitable, we will discuss all the information we have about the child with you. If for any reason you do not feel that a particular child would be right then we will not place the child with you.
During your assessment your skills and family are assessed to see what you can offer a child or young person and, who would be best placed with you, always with the child’s needs in mind.
You can have preferences, but we ask and like our carers to be as open minded as possible and focus on the needs of the child instead.
For example you may not be the same ethnicity as the child in your care, but looking beyond that, if you can offer a child the safe space, support and family they need, you’ll learn from each other and it could ultimately be a very successful placement for both you and the child.
To avoid a placement breakdown and further trauma, we are careful to ensure that a child matches your skill set and your family dynamics.
Getting a placement right is our main aim but it is well worth remembering that the narrower your preferences are, the less children you will look after.
Everybody has a preference according to their own individual skill-set, but it’s very important to remain open and flexible.
We have a very careful approach to the child placement process, and we only ever try and match you to a child or young person that would thrive in your family home.
After completing our courses, such as the ‘Skills to Foster’ training and speaking with our staff, some people have a change of preference or become more open to different ages. We do get referrals for younger children, but we can never guarantee the profile of a child coming into our care.
At Chrysalis Care we offer all our foster carers up to 14 days’ paid respite each year. This must be agreed by all parties that it is in the best interest of the child/young person.
We encourage our foster carers to take children/young people away on holiday with them, just as you would your own children. This strengthens the bond and builds relationships and memories.
When this cannot happen, for example the child may not have a passport or permission, we will always try and accommodate this.
If there is an emergency within your family, we will always do our best to help you out.
We also have an apartment in Tenerife and a caravan near Ramsgate that our foster carers can use for breaks away for a heavily reduced price.
“How much training do I have to attend? Do I have to do all the training at head office, or can I do it all online?”
To keep in line with fostering regulations, you’ll need to complete 5 training courses each year.
Some, such as first aid, or safeguarding, have to be renewed every year, or every few years.
The others can be chosen from a selection created for you by our learning and development officer. This provides variety and development of your professional and personal skills and could be about specific issues such as cyber-bullying, county lines or learning about autism, among others.
Some of our foster carers just complete the minimum 5 courses a year, while others attend as many as they can to benefit from an improvement in their knowledge which will help with future placements. We like to reward those foster carers that do extra training by sending them a voucher once a year.
We know that some foster carers or their partners can’t always attend due to work commitments, so we have courses that can be completed online, however others, such as first aid, have to be completed in person.
Foster carers are not employed by the fostering agency. Chrysalis Care foster carers receive a fostering allowance that is broken down into two parts, the allowance for the care of the child and the reward element paid to the carer.
You get tax relief for every week (or part week) that a child is in your care. This means you don’t have to pay tax on some of your earnings over £10,000.
Diana is a foster carer for a 15-year-old for the year and an 8-year-old for 10 weeks of the year. She doesn’t have to pay tax on the first £25,000 she earns:
Tax exemption = £10,000
Child 1 (52 x £250) = £13,000
Child 2 (10 x £200) = £2,000
Total = £25,000
Once a child moves on, we pay a percentage of a weekly fee as a retainer for up to six weeks if you don’t have any other children in placement.
While we cannot promise you will always have a child in placement, the more willing you are to care for children of all ages and backgrounds, the more likely you will have fewer periods without a placement.
We approach the matching process very carefully at Chrysalis Care, so we won’t place a child or young person if it doesn’t quite work. It is important to remember the needs of the child are paramount and so is our duty of care for our foster carers, therefore we spend valuable time making sure placements work.
At times when you do not have a child or young person living in your home, our duty officer will contact you to discuss any placements that would suit you, your home and the child.
Your monthly fee is split into two elements:
A ‘maintenance fee’, which is part of the money that is paid to you to spend on looking after the child In your care. It includes money towards an increase in your household bills including bills such as council tax, as well as food and clothing for the child. To help you budget effectively, we provide you with breakdown of how it is best used.
The second part is paid to you for your own use, in return for undertaking the fostering task. We call this the ‘reward element’.
It is important to remember that you only get paid when a child is in your care, therefore during the assessment it is important to look at your financial position and not rely completely on the fostering allowance.
It is best to save a little each month to support you if there is a short gap in between placements.
“I want to transfer from my local authority, but I will have to do a lot more record keeping for your agency, why is that?”
When you foster with a local authority you will usually have a child from your local area, so a lot of the required information is already there regarding schooling and history.
You do not have to do a lot more record keeping. Just a short daily log and a monthly online form with tick boxes and brief summary. The aim of record keeping is to keep a track of your foster-child’s ongoing progress and development. Your notes will help you and us to see child behavioural patterns which can arise as a result of their early life trauma.
Some children and young people may be going through considerable difficulty and might share information with you that you must discuss with us so they can be helped.
Your records can also provide a reliable reference point should an allegation be made.
We ask everyone who is applying to join us as a foster carer how they would describe their own health and about their ability to look after a dependent.
If this is a yes, after you home visit, we’ll start your assessment, which will include statutory checks, including a health assessment medical. We’ll give you a form to take to your GP who will give us their clinical opinion about your fitness to foster.
This is then sent to our medical adviser for a second opinion. We rely on their expertise and opinion and will depend on their answer.
There are some criminal offences that would stop you from fostering. Many small offences will not stop you from being considered as a foster carer and indeed your previous experiences could help you relate, provide understanding of a child/young person that may be going through something themselves.
You must be completely honest with us and other professionals involved in your assessment from the outset.
You should not try to second-guess what we may or may not find acceptable. Indeed, you may end up holding something back which does not preclude you from fostering, but the fact you have done so may cause us to doubt your integrity, and with it, your suitability to foster.
As a foster carer trust and honesty is key, so our advice is to declare your record if you have one, and then we can take this into consideration and advise you.
The assessment process may feel quite intrusive, and you will be asked questions about your health, so you need to be prepared to go over some of your past or current mental health conditions, including how you dealt with it, what triggered it and how you are now.
Some children that come into care have these mental health illnesses as well, so we will have to understand if their illness would potentially be too much for a foster carer to carry and deal with without being affected themselves.
Please also see our Internet Search Policy and Ex-Offenders Recruitment Procedure when completing your Application Form.
Apply now: You can post your application form to the address above, or email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Chrysalis Care on one of our open days to find out more about fostering and how you can transform children and young peoples’ lives as well as your own!