As Joe Swash and Stacey Solomon vow to provide foster care, what's the UK process?

Joe Swash says he and Stacey Solomon would like to foster kids one day. (Getty Images)
Joe Swash says he and Stacey Solomon would like to foster kids one day. (Getty Images)

Joe Swash has doubled down on his wish to take in foster kids with Stacey Solomon.

The 41-year-old actor, who first said he and Solomon, 33, might foster a child last week, has stated that they will wait until their kids are a bit older to do so.

Swash and Solomon are parents to Rex, three, Rose, one, and four-month-old Belle. Swash also has a 16-year-old son called Harry, while Solomon has two sons: Zachary, 15, and Leighton, 11.

“When the kids are old enough, we’ll think about fostering,” Swash, whose mother Kiffy has been a foster carer for 15 years, said in his new BBC special, Joe Swash: Teens in Care.

Read more: Stacey Solomon and Joe Swash: Their love story from I'm A Celeb to baby number three - Yahoo Celebrity UK, 4-min read

“We love kids and Stacey is on the same page as me. She watched my mum’s journey, she’s watched Daniel’s [one of the foster kids featured in the special] journey. She’s been a massive support.”

How many children in the UK are in foster care?

According to the latest Ofsted reports, around 70,000 kids in the UK are currently living with 55,000 foster families.

The Fostering Network says around 30,000 new children come into the fostering network each year, and so the need for new foster families is ever present. Here’s everything you need to know about fostering a child or children in the UK.

A cute young girl sits politely at a table. She looks up and smiles at a woman who is talking to her. A man in the background looks relaxed, and smiles as he watches over her.
There are around 70,000 children currently in foster care in the UK. (Getty Images)

Who can become a foster parent?

To become a foster parent, you must be over the age of 18 - although most foster care agencies will only accept applicants over the age of 21.

You also must either be a UK resident or have indefinite leave to remain and you must be able to take care of a child or young person for any length of time - from overnight to indefinitely.

Read more: I’ve been paid over £100K to foster more than 30 children – but I’d do it all for free - Yahoo Style UK, 11-min read

Different types of foster care

There are several different types of foster care in the UK, but potential foster families need to follow the same application for each. These include:

  • Long term: Fostering a child who doesn’t want to go back to their birth family and doesn’t want to be adopted until they are an adult.

  • Short term: Looking after children for a short amount of time while long term plans are sorted out.

  • ‘Family and friends’ or ‘kinship’: This is caring for a child who is known to you or part of your family.

  • Emergency: This involves giving a child a safe place to sleep, usually with less than 24 hours notice.

  • Respite and short breaks: This involves caring for children with disabilities, special educational needs or behavioural issues when parents or foster parents need a break.

  • Remand: A type of foster caring that often requires special training as you take in children who’ve been remanded by a court.

  • Fostering for adoption: This is for families hoping to adopt the children they foster.

  • Specialist therapeutic: This is for experienced foster carers or carers with special skills to provide therapeutic help for children with complex needs or challenging behaviour.

Foster parent duties

Becoming a foster parent means you will take on the role of a regular parent and be the child’s biggest advocate.

You will need to keep records and write reports about the foster child, attend meetings, attend training, and help to manage the child’s behaviour and feelings.

All foster families receive a foster care allowance which is usually between £137 and £240 per week, according to the government.

Daughter embracing her mother
It can take up to eight months to approve foster carer applications. (Getty Images)

How to apply to be a foster parent

The application to become a foster parent can take up to eight months to complete. You can apply to be a foster parent either through your local council or with an independent fostering agency.

You will then be asked to go for a preparation course for fostering, and pass an enhanced with barred lists Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

A social worker will also need to assess your family and check you are able to care for a child. The fostering service will then review and (hopefully) approve your application.

Watch: Stacey Solomon reveals pregnancy of fifth child was a 'surprise'