Becoming a foster carer

Can I foster?

There is no such thing as a 'typical' or 'standard' foster carer. Each will bring a wide range of life and work experiences.

Foster carers are:

  • from a variety of backgrounds, circumstances, religions, ethnicities and cultures
  • single, married or cohabiting
  • all genders and sexual orientations
  • over 21 years old (there’s no upper age limit)
  • diverse and may manage a physical disability or mental health condition.

If you have any questions, or want to find out if fostering could be the right choice for you, please get in touch via phone, enquiry form or join an online information session soon.

Follow us on EastSussexFostering on Twitter and East Sussex Fostering on Facebook for more details.

What you need

You need…

  • A genuine interest in helping children through a difficult time in their lives.
  • As a family, to have time in your lives and space in your home to care for a child or young person.
  • Experience as parents or of caring for children.
  • Energy and enthusiasm to keep up with the demands of an active child.
  • Patience, tolerance, resilience and good communications skills.
  • An understanding of the potential impact of trauma, separation and loss on children.
  • A warm and welcoming home, with or without pets (you do not need to own your home).
  • A spare bedroom so that the foster child has a space to make their own.
  • A positive and flexible approach to life, supporting our children to develop a strong sense of their own identity which may differ to your own (identity, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, sexuality, disability).

There are very few reasons why you can’t foster. It used to be that you had to be a certain type of person but it’s not like that now.

Sarah – foster carer


You’ll be part of a team alongside social workers and the children’s parents. You’ll attend meetings. You will take children and young people to health or education appointments. You might also work with a child’s school to help them attend or be able to learn.

You need to be available for the needs of the child in your care, so working full time is not usually compatible.

You don’t need qualifications, but you do need to be willing to attend regular training. We offer a wide range of opportunities to develop your interests and skills.

Working with you, we will match the child with the foster carer. We will consider the child’s needs, your skills, experience and of course your family.


Weekly pay for foster carers

Foster carers get allowances to cover the day-to-day expenses of caring for the child. We will also pay you a professional fostering fee.

Weekly rates for less than two years' service

Weekly allowance rates for 2022–23 including professional fostering fee (for carers with less than two years service):

  • £264.02 for children aged 0 to 4 years
  • £294.67 for children aged 5 to 10 years
  • £331.39 for children aged 11 and over

Higher weekly rates available

Your experience as a foster carer is valuable to us and the children waiting for a family. Please talk to us about special rates we offer:

  • up to £351.39 for experienced carers who have been approved for more than two years
  • further enhanced rates based on the needs of the child for a period of time

Weekly allowance rates when caring for children of all ages with disabilities:

  • £391.27 to £411.27

Weekly allowance rate for parent(s) and child placements:

  • £804.38 to £1,048.81

Additional payments

There are additional payments for festivals like Christmas, mileage or day care. Please get in touch for more information regarding any payments which may be available for our foster carers.

Transferring to East Sussex County Council Fostering Service

You can still transfer with a child already in placement, even if they are placed with you by another local authority. We will guarantee that you continue with the same rate of payment for the duration of that placement. We can discuss payment for experienced and transferring foster carers in more detail when you contact us.


Fostering and supported lodgings information events

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Virtual information events

The team are available to talk to you online and answer your questions on video calls.

To sign up to one of our 2022 online information events, please click on your preferred date below:

Keep an eye on EastSussexFostering on Twitter and East Sussex Fostering on Facebook for more details.

Van used to hold information events about fostering with East Sussex County Council.

Vinnie the Van 2022 travelling information events

Vinnie the Van visits locations across East Sussex. Staff are happy to chat and answer your questions:

  • Thursday 1 December 4pm to 8pm in Grove Road, Eastbourne at the Little Chelsea Festive Fun and Fireworks event

We also advertise these events on social media...

Keep an eye on EastSussexFostering on Twitter and East Sussex Fostering on Facebook for more details.

Contact us

You don’t need to attend an information event to start a fostering or supported lodgings application process. Please get in touch with us direct for an informal chat.


Why foster with us?

Our foster carers come first

We are responsible for placing every child in East Sussex who needs care, from newborns to teenagers.

We always give priority to place children with our own foster carers first, rather than with an agency.

We will only consider using carers from an independent fostering agency if we do not have enough available foster carers of our own at the time.

You probably have more questions... so please contact us directly or join one of our virtual information events.

Help and advice for you – day or night

  • Every foster carer has a dedicated social worker who is locally based in East Sussex.
  • 24-hour telephone helpline is available, 7 days a week, for help and advice.

The support with East Sussex has been excellent. We’ve been supported all the way through.

Sarah – foster carer


Ongoing training

  • Excellent training ensures you have the right skills to foster before you start.
  • Further regular local training enables you to improve your knowledge and develop your skills to help your fostering journey. This includes optional higher formal qualifications if you'd like to gain these too.

Ongoing support for the child – all under one roof

  • We offer joined up support – all under one roof.
  • Each foster child has their own dedicated social worker.
  • To help the child achieve at school, there’s advice, support and assistance. Additional teaching support is also available if needed.
  • Children’s Mental Health Services are also on hand to provide support.

A network of support for you

  • Individual membership to the Fostering Network and the East Sussex Foster Care Association.
  • Social events for everyone in our foster care team – you, your children, the children you care for and professional colleagues.