About Sparks Fostering

Sparks Fostering recruits and supervise foster carers. It is the role of the foster carer to provide ‘temporary’ care for children who are unable to live with their birth family or with family friends: ‘Temporary’ could mean one night or it could mean several years (sometimes until the young person is 25 years old).

All of the work done by Sparks Fostering holds the child/ren’s best interests as our priority. We only recruit foster carers who are likely to meet the needs of the children who need fostering homes; when we assess foster carers we ensure that they are also motivated primarily to meet the needs of the children; and when we supervise foster carers (and Sparks Fostering staff) we keep the child’s best interests at the forefront of our mind.

Any decisions or approaches which may lead to a compromise of the child’s welfare, wellbeing and their potential to thrive will be avoided whenever possible and alternative options will be explored for the child, even if that may mean making significant compromises, or even (as a last resort) moving the child to another placement; indeed, foster carers who aren’t able to prioritise the needs of children (like we would expect them to prioritise their ‘own’ children) would be deregistered because they aren’t suitable for the role. It isn’t acceptable for foster carers to be a ‘good enough’ parents, who feed the children, take them to school, are kind natured and stick to routines – Sparks foster carers (and staff) are expected to be keen to get to the know the child’s individual needs and abilities, to learn the appropriate knowledge required to meet the child’s needs, and to implement therapeutic and child-centred approaches to help the child/ren recover from trauma, build appropriate attachments and meet their potential in every way. Sparks Foster carers are expected to have very strong parenting skills and Sparks Foster carers and staff are required to have a growth and learning mindset.

Our vision, values and principles

Fostering is mostly a caring role, but it also requires professional skills: Sparks Fostering trains, supports and supervises the foster carers to ensure that the children placed into the foster carer homes receive the best possible care. Foster carers are expected to carry out professional tasks, such as writing records of the child’s activities and behaviours, attending foster carer training, engaging in supervision with the fostering social worker, and advocating for the child in professionals meetings. That said, anyone who has the capacity and motivation to read through the information on this website has the skills required for the professional aspects of fostering. Sparks Fostering is a ‘paper-free’ organisation, so all foster carers and staff are expected to be able to use simple databases, to scan and upload documents and be able to complete Word documents confidently. To learn more about the role of a foster carer click here and to read more about how Sparks Fostering supports foster carers click here.

Sparks Fostering also provides financial support to foster carers by way of allowances and fees. By providing an allowance, fostering becomes an option for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to cover the costs of caring for the children, and the fees also make it possible for foster carers of multiple children to reduce (or end) their working hours, so that they may spend more time caring for the children. To learn more about the fostering allowance click here. Sparks Fostering also provides an initial bonus for all approved foster carers and for the person who referred the carer (if applicable) – to learn more about these payments, click here.

Find out if you would be considered for fostering by taking this short, no-obligation Free Quiz,  or you can read more about who can foster.

Children who are in need of foster care and the most vulnerable children in our society; to care for them and offer them stability is a great responsibility which comes with the great reward of knowing that we have been able to treat the children with the care and respect they deserve. Sadly, some people apply to foster for the wrong reasons and/or they don’t have the space, capacity, skills, knowledge and/or motivation to do the work that’s required for this specialist role – our comprehensive assessment of applicants ensures that we are able to turn down people who would not be suitable to foster. Sparks Fostering acknowledges that there is a national shortage of foster carers; however, we also respect our responsibility to ensure that our foster carers are supported to be highly motivated, skilled, experienced and caring. To learn more about the needs of children in care click here and to learn more about the fostering assessment click here.

Find out what we can offer you if you transfer

If you’re already an approved foster carer, you can learn more about what Sparks Fostering can offer you if you transfer