Do you have a question?

common questions and answers

1. Who can be a foster carer?
All sorts of people can foster, whatever their relationship status, sexual orientation, skin colour, cultural background or religious beliefs.

We are looking for foster carers from all walks of life, including:

  • Single people
  • Couples (married and unmarried)
  • Same-sex couples
  • Homeowners and non-homeowners
  • Employed or unemployed
  • Parents and non-parents

There are some criteria that you need to have:

  • You need a spare bedroom
  • You need to be over the age of 25
  • If you are fostering as a couple, you’ll need to have been in your relationship for at least 5 years
  • Ideally you would have a full driving license, however there may be some flexibility around this
  • As the main carer, you must be able to commit to fostering on a full-time basis, however there are times when there can be some flexibility in relation to this so please contact us if this is an issue to discuss this further.

2. Do I need a driving license?
While we don’t insist that all carers are able to drive, the reality is that it is extremely difficult if you don’t have access to a car. There are meetings to attend and children often need to be transported to school, activities and access visits with their birth family. If you do not have a driving licence then you will need to be able to demonstrate that you could meet the transport needs of a placement in some other way.

3. Can a child I foster share a bedroom with one of my own children?
We require foster children to have their own bedrooms (unless they are a young sibling group).

4. What sort of checks will be carried out on me and my home?
As part of the fostering assessment we will carry out a number of checks on you and your home. These include:

  • Garda clearance checks
  • Tusla address checks
  • A standard safety check on your home
  • Employment references
  • School references
  • Personal references
  • Overseas address checks
  • Financial stability checks
  • Health checks

5. If I’m going to be the main foster carer, do you need to carry out checks on my partner?
We believe that all couples living together are partners in fostering, so you’ll both need to take part in the assessment process.

Children who foster also have a hugely important role, so we’ll need to carry out checks on any of your own children over the age of 16.

6. Will a previous criminal conviction prevent me from fostering?
Having a criminal conviction does not necessarily mean that you can’t foster. It really does depend on the nature of the conviction and when it occurred. It is important that you fully disclose any previous convictions at the beginning of the assessment process so we can decide whether it will affect your application. Any information you share will remain confidential.

7. Does it matter if I have pets?
Whilst some children will enjoy having pets in the home, others may be frightened or not feel comfortable with this. Any animals in the home will be considered during a health and safety check and risk assessments to ensure that they don’t pose a risk to your foster child.

8. What are the different kinds of foster care?
Children need different kinds of foster care, depending on why they have had to leave their families and on how long they may need to be out of home. The priority is to provide them with the kind of foster care which best meets their needs. This can be for a few days or until they reach 18 years of age.

The most child friendly form of fostering is open ended, whereby a family agrees to care for a child for as long as the child may need care. This saves the children having to change foster families while they are in care.

Short-term or emergency foster care may be defined as lasting from one day to six months or until a longer-term plan can be made for the child. Many families enjoy this type of fostering as they get satisfaction from helping a large number of children along their way to recovery from difficult experiences. Short-term families can take breaks from fostering in between placements if they choose to.

Long-term fostering offers family care to children for periods of longer than six months and up to and including the children reaching adulthood. This form of care is chosen for children who are unlikely to be able to return home. It is important to point out however, that fostering gives no guarantee that children can stay until they are reared, though many do so.

Weekend and holiday fostering is usually best suited to children who live in residential centres, whose involvement with their birth families does not allow them to avail of living full time in a foster family. It can also be useful for children who have experienced many moves in care and for whom full time family life can demand more than they are able for. This type of fostering can also be offered to children who live with their families during the week but who benefit from alternative care at weekends.

Day fostering is a flexible service which allows children to remain in their own homes by night and at weekends, while receiving alternative family care during the day. This kind of fostering gives birth families the time and space to address their difficulties without their children having to separate from them full time.

Respite foster care provides a service to other foster carers who need to take breaks from the children they foster on an occasional or regular planned basis. This type of care works best when the child can have a guarantee of going to the same family to whom he/she has been previously introduced.

Specialist Foster Care Origins is currently in the process of developing a number of Specialist Foster Care Placements. These are specially approved placements that receive an enhanced level of therapeutic and practical support and where the Origins’ clinical model is fully embraced and implemented in supporting the child and their carers.

9. The team behind Origins Foster Care
Origins Foster Care was set up by Directors Eugene Bigley and Mieke Ryan, who both have extensive experience working with vulnerable children and foster families.

Eugene and Mieke recognise the need for a holistic and therapeutic foster service, where the foster carers and families receive a nurturing, specifically guided, supportive framework to welcome vulnerable children into their homes and grow positively, enjoying the fostering experience.

Through their years of experience in talking to Foster Families and Foster Children, working with Clinicians, sitting on Committees, working with the Courts and acting Chairperson for foster care applications – they have developed a holistic, therapeutic and nurturing framework of support for carers, that aids, enables and assists in creating a solid family framework which embraces every function of the foster family unit journey.

See team bios here

10. What is expected of foster carers?
Becoming a foster carer means providing a safe place for a child to live in your home, a place where they will feel comfortable, loved and protected.

Children in care often require additional support services. Sometimes these are provided through local community services and sometimes private services are required for them. Foster carers are expected to work alongside their Origins social worker and Tusla to ensure that the children placed with them have access to all of the supports that they need.

Many children in foster care have regular access visits with their birth families and the frequency of this is different for every child. It is very important for children that their foster carers are able to support them practically and emotionally in attending these visits.

11. Can I still go out to work and be a foster carer?
As a foster carer either as a couple or a single carer, someone must be available for the child or young person at all times. We therefore accept that the main carer can work as long as they have total flexibility with the hours they work and can be available as and when needed. This will depend on individual circumstances and will need to be discussed with one of our fostering advisors.

12. Who is responsible for taking the children to school and to the doctor, etc?
As a foster carer, you have responsibility for these day-to-day tasks; the school run and doctor’s trips included. Should you have a problem on an odd occasion, your link social worker can help you make alternative arrangements.

13. Can I choose how long I want children and young people to stay with me?
During the assessment process, we’ll sit down with you to discuss what types of fostering will suit you best. It isn’t always possible to know exactly how long a child will stay with you, but we’ll keep you updated as much as we can.

14. Can I choose which age group or sex I would prefer to foster?
While you can give us a preference ideally we’d like you to be able to offer the same support to children of all ages and both genders.

15. How much will I know about the child or young person before they are placed with me?
We try to give you as much information about a young person as we can when we discuss a potential placement with you, including any difficult behaviour and how to manage it. Sometimes we have very little information, especially in an emergency. However, we always seek to find out as much as we can as quickly as possible.

16. What happens if we don’t get on with the child?
Your training and dedicated support team will help you to cope with a range of challenging behaviours. We will also try to “match” a child with you and your family as closely as possible to ensure a stable and secure home environment.
Occasionally placements do break down despite everyone’s best efforts, although this is rare. In this instance you would be expected to work with the team to make the transition period as painless as possible for the child as he/she moves on.

17. How will fostering affect my own children?
It’s really important you talk to your children about the impact fostering may have on them. We also provide access to experienced social workers to help understand how fostering might affect your children. When undertaking the assessment to be a carer all birth children are included in the assessment and they will meet the social worker undertaking the assessment both within a family setting and also 1-1 to help your family members understand fostering and how this can impact on your family.

18. What are the stages of the Assessment Process:
Stage 1 – Enquiry

If you are interested in fostering, you can send an enquiry via telephone, email, this website or word of mouth. Once we receive this we will call you at a time that is convenient to have an initial telephone conversation with you about fostering and we will go through some of the criteria for being able to apply. If you meet the criteria we will send you an information pack to review and we will arrange to call to your home for an initial home visit.

Stage 2 – Initial Screening

A qualified social worker will visit you and your family at home, to see where you live and talk to you and your family about your reasons for fostering.
Following this initial visit the team at Origins will determine whether to recommend you to continue to the Assessment Stage.

Stage 3 – Training

Either immediately prior to commencing or during your assessment you will be required to attend one-day training course. This is part of the assessment process and feedback from trainers will be reviewed as part of your assessment. This training will provide you with further clarification about what you can expect as a foster carer, both the rewards and the challenges which you may face.

Stage 4 – Assessment

Origins will assign you a named, qualified social worker to carry out an assessment with you and your family.
During the fostering assessment, the qualified social worker will make between 5 to 8 visits to your home in order to spend time working with you and your family on the assessment. This assessment is a joint project and requires full participation from you and your family and will be a means of documenting your suitability to become a foster carer.

You will need to provide references for people who can be contacted by the social worker to discuss your and your family’s suitability to become foster carers.

The social worker will produce a report which includes details such as:

  • Your background
  • Relationships/partnerships (current and previous)
  • Children in the household
    Other adult members of the household
  • Description of family life
  • Support network
  • Overview of financial stability
  • Parenting capacity

As part of your assessment, we will carry out a series of statutory checks, including:

  • An Garda Siochana clearance
  • Tusla checks
  • Reference from current employer/fostering organisation/voluntary work
  • School/PHN reports for your own children (if appropriate)
  • Medical reports
  • At least 2 personal references
  • References from previous employment involving children and vulnerable people
  • General risk assessment of your home
  • Recommendations for improving safety
  • Overseas checks (if appropriate)

Stage 5 – Approval Committee

Once your Fostering Assessment has been completed, you will have the opportunity to go through it and discuss it with the assessment social worker. Your assessment and the outcome of all the statutory and non-statutory checks will then be presented to the local Placement Committee by the social worker who undertook your assessment. You and your family members may be requested to attend. The Placement Committee comprises of a combination of professionals and independent members, including a foster carer, educationalist and a person with experience of the system for children in care. If asked to attend, you will be asked to respond to a number of relevant questions at this meeting. The Placement Committee will take deliberation and advise you on the day of their recommendations.

The Placement Committee will make their recommendations to Origins Foster Care and the final decision rests with the Origins Foster Care Panel, which comprises of professional social workers and directors of Origins Foster Care. Origins Foster Care Panel will review all documentation, including the minutes of the Placement Committee meeting and its recommendations and will make the final decisions on the basis of the recommendation. Once official approval has been given, Origins will notify you by telephone and in writing, and assign a social worker to you who will visit you at home and agree a supporting working contract with you. They will then begin sourcing suitable placements for you immediately. All relevant Tusla Fostering Departments will be made aware of your availability as a foster carer.

19. Once I’m approved, how long will I have to wait for my first placement?
The time between getting approved and having your first placement varies from person to person. It normally takes around 6 months to go through the approval process. After this, you can begin receiving referrals right away, but we’ll always try and match you with the best possible placement based on your individual needs and circumstances.

20. What payments and allowances will I receive?
The statutory fostering allowance is currently €352 per week, per child, although this can vary depending on placement type.

21. What does the allowance cover?
Your weekly allowance is intended to cover living costs such as food, clothes, school books, basic travel and household bills.

22. Will I be taxed on this income?
The allowances you receive when fostering with us are exempt from taxation under the Finance Bill 2005. This also means that the money you earn isn’t classed as income when applying for certain benefits and will not affect your ability to receive disability allowance, disability benefit, unemployment assistance or a medical card.

23. What are the benefits Origins foster carers receive?

  • A highly committed support team
  • 24 hour on call telephone support
  • Your own dedicated social worker
  • Regular meetings
  • Training & Education
  • Therapeutic interventions
  • Tailored care packages
  • Respite
  • Support groups
  • Foster Care covering all of Ireland

1. Who can be a foster carer?
All sorts of people can foster, whatever their relationship status, sexual orientation, skin colour, cultural background or religious beliefs.

We are looking for foster carers from all walks of life, including:

  • Single people
  • Couples (married and unmarried)
  • Same-sex couples
  • Homeowners and non-homeowners
  • Employed or unemployed
  • Parents and non-parents

There are some criteria that you need to have:

  • You need a spare bedroom
  • You need to be over the age of 25
  • If you are fostering as a couple, you’ll need to have been in your relationship for at least 5 years
  • Ideally you would have a full driving license, however there may be some flexibility around this
  • As the main carer, you must be able to commit to fostering on a full-time basis, however there are times when there can be some flexibility in relation to this so please contact us if this is an issue to discuss this further.

2. Do I need a driving license?
While we don’t insist that all carers are able to drive, the reality is that it is extremely difficult if you don’t have access to a car. There are meetings to attend and children often need to be transported to school, activities and access visits with their birth family. If you do not have a driving licence then you will need to be able to demonstrate that you could meet the transport needs of a placement in some other way.

3. Can a child I foster share a bedroom with one of my own children?
We require foster children to have their own bedrooms (unless they are a young sibling group).

4. What sort of checks will be carried out on me and my home?
As part of the fostering assessment we will carry out a number of checks on you and your home. These include:

  • Garda clearance checks
  • Tusla address checks
  • A standard safety check on your home
  • Employment references
  • School references
  • Personal references
  • Overseas address checks
  • Financial stability checks
  • Health checks

5. If I’m going to be the main foster carer, do you need to carry out checks on my partner?
We believe that all couples living together are partners in fostering, so you’ll both need to take part in the assessment process.

Children who foster also have a hugely important role, so we’ll need to carry out checks on any of your own children over the age of 16.

6. Will a previous criminal conviction prevent me from fostering?
Having a criminal conviction does not necessarily mean that you can’t foster. It really does depend on the nature of the conviction and when it occurred. It is important that you fully disclose any previous convictions at the beginning of the assessment process so we can decide whether it will affect your application. Any information you share will remain confidential.

7. Does it matter if I have pets?
Whilst some children will enjoy having pets in the home, others may be frightened or not feel comfortable with this. Any animals in the home will be considered during a health and safety check and risk assessments to ensure that they don’t pose a risk to your foster child.

8. What are the different kinds of foster care?
Children need different kinds of foster care, depending on why they have had to leave their families and on how long they may need to be out of home. The priority is to provide them with the kind of foster care which best meets their needs. This can be for a few days or until they reach 18 years of age.

The most child friendly form of fostering is open ended, whereby a family agrees to care for a child for as long as the child may need care. This saves the children having to change foster families while they are in care.

Short-term or emergency foster care may be defined as lasting from one day to six months or until a longer-term plan can be made for the child. Many families enjoy this type of fostering as they get satisfaction from helping a large number of children along their way to recovery from difficult experiences. Short-term families can take breaks from fostering in between placements if they choose to.

Long-term fostering offers family care to children for periods of longer than six months and up to and including the children reaching adulthood. This form of care is chosen for children who are unlikely to be able to return home. It is important to point out however, that fostering gives no guarantee that children can stay until they are reared, though many do so.

Weekend and holiday fostering is usually best suited to children who live in residential centres, whose involvement with their birth families does not allow them to avail of living full time in a foster family. It can also be useful for children who have experienced many moves in care and for whom full time family life can demand more than they are able for. This type of fostering can also be offered to children who live with their families during the week but who benefit from alternative care at weekends.

Day fostering is a flexible service which allows children to remain in their own homes by night and at weekends, while receiving alternative family care during the day. This kind of fostering gives birth families the time and space to address their difficulties without their children having to separate from them full time.

Respite foster care provides a service to other foster carers who need to take breaks from the children they foster on an occasional or regular planned basis. This type of care works best when the child can have a guarantee of going to the same family to whom he/she has been previously introduced.

Specialist Foster Care Origins is currently in the process of developing a number of Specialist Foster Care Placements. These are specially approved placements that receive an enhanced level of therapeutic and practical support and where the Origins’ clinical model is fully embraced and implemented in supporting the child and their carers.

9. The team behind Origins Foster Care
Origins Foster Care was set up by Directors Eugene Bigley and Mieke Ryan, who both have extensive experience working with vulnerable children and foster families.

Eugene and Mieke recognise the need for a holistic and therapeutic foster service, where the foster carers and families receive a nurturing, specifically guided, supportive framework to welcome vulnerable children into their homes and grow positively, enjoying the fostering experience.

Through their years of experience in talking to Foster Families and Foster Children, working with Clinicians, sitting on Committees, working with the Courts and acting Chairperson for foster care applications – they have developed a holistic, therapeutic and nurturing framework of support for carers, that aids, enables and assists in creating a solid family framework which embraces every function of the foster family unit journey.

See team bios here

10. What is expected of foster carers?
Becoming a foster carer means providing a safe place for a child to live in your home, a place where they will feel comfortable, loved and protected.

Children in care often require additional support services. Sometimes these are provided through local community services and sometimes private services are required for them. Foster carers are expected to work alongside their Origins social worker and Tusla to ensure that the children placed with them have access to all of the supports that they need.

Many children in foster care have regular access visits with their birth families and the frequency of this is different for every child. It is very important for children that their foster carers are able to support them practically and emotionally in attending these visits.

11. Can I still go out to work and be a foster carer?
As a foster carer either as a couple or a single carer, someone must be available for the child or young person at all times. We therefore accept that the main carer can work as long as they have total flexibility with the hours they work and can be available as and when needed. This will depend on individual circumstances and will need to be discussed with one of our fostering advisors.

12. Who is responsible for taking the children to school and to the doctor, etc?
As a foster carer, you have responsibility for these day-to-day tasks; the school run and doctor’s trips included. Should you have a problem on an odd occasion, your link social worker can help you make alternative arrangements.

13. Can I choose how long I want children and young people to stay with me?
During the assessment process, we’ll sit down with you to discuss what types of fostering will suit you best. It isn’t always possible to know exactly how long a child will stay with you, but we’ll keep you updated as much as we can.

14. Can I choose which age group or sex I would prefer to foster?
While you can give us a preference ideally we’d like you to be able to offer the same support to children of all ages and both genders.

15. How much will I know about the child or young person before they are placed with me?
We try to give you as much information about a young person as we can when we discuss a potential placement with you, including any difficult behaviour and how to manage it. Sometimes we have very little information, especially in an emergency. However, we always seek to find out as much as we can as quickly as possible.

16. What happens if we don’t get on with the child?
Your training and dedicated support team will help you to cope with a range of challenging behaviours. We will also try to “match” a child with you and your family as closely as possible to ensure a stable and secure home environment.
Occasionally placements do break down despite everyone’s best efforts, although this is rare. In this instance you would be expected to work with the team to make the transition period as painless as possible for the child as he/she moves on.

17. How will fostering affect my own children?
It’s really important you talk to your children about the impact fostering may have on them. We also provide access to experienced social workers to help understand how fostering might affect your children. When undertaking the assessment to be a carer all birth children are included in the assessment and they will meet the social worker undertaking the assessment both within a family setting and also 1-1 to help your family members understand fostering and how this can impact on your family.

18. What are the stages of the Assessment Process:
Stage 1 – Enquiry

If you are interested in fostering, you can send an enquiry via telephone, email, this website or word of mouth. Once we receive this we will call you at a time that is convenient to have an initial telephone conversation with you about fostering and we will go through some of the criteria for being able to apply. If you meet the criteria we will send you an information pack to review and we will arrange to call to your home for an initial home visit.

Stage 2 – Initial Screening

A qualified social worker will visit you and your family at home, to see where you live and talk to you and your family about your reasons for fostering.
Following this initial visit the team at Origins will determine whether to recommend you to continue to the Assessment Stage.

Stage 3 – Training

Either immediately prior to commencing or during your assessment you will be required to attend one-day training course. This is part of the assessment process and feedback from trainers will be reviewed as part of your assessment. This training will provide you with further clarification about what you can expect as a foster carer, both the rewards and the challenges which you may face.

Stage 4 – Assessment

Origins will assign you a named, qualified social worker to carry out an assessment with you and your family.
During the fostering assessment, the qualified social worker will make between 5 to 8 visits to your home in order to spend time working with you and your family on the assessment. This assessment is a joint project and requires full participation from you and your family and will be a means of documenting your suitability to become a foster carer.

You will need to provide references for people who can be contacted by the social worker to discuss your and your family’s suitability to become foster carers.

The social worker will produce a report which includes details such as:

  • Your background
  • Relationships/partnerships (current and previous)
  • Children in the household
    Other adult members of the household
  • Description of family life
  • Support network
  • Overview of financial stability
  • Parenting capacity

As part of your assessment, we will carry out a series of statutory checks, including:

  • An Garda Siochana clearance
  • Tusla checks
  • Reference from current employer/fostering organisation/voluntary work
  • School/PHN reports for your own children (if appropriate)
  • Medical reports
  • At least 2 personal references
  • References from previous employment involving children and vulnerable people
  • General risk assessment of your home
  • Recommendations for improving safety
  • Overseas checks (if appropriate)

Stage 5 – Approval Committee

Once your Fostering Assessment has been completed, you will have the opportunity to go through it and discuss it with the assessment social worker. Your assessment and the outcome of all the statutory and non-statutory checks will then be presented to the local Placement Committee by the social worker who undertook your assessment. You and your family members may be requested to attend. The Placement Committee comprises of a combination of professionals and independent members, including a foster carer, educationalist and a person with experience of the system for children in care. If asked to attend, you will be asked to respond to a number of relevant questions at this meeting. The Placement Committee will take deliberation and advise you on the day of their recommendations.

The Placement Committee will make their recommendations to Origins Foster Care and the final decision rests with the Origins Foster Care Panel, which comprises of professional social workers and directors of Origins Foster Care. Origins Foster Care Panel will review all documentation, including the minutes of the Placement Committee meeting and its recommendations and will make the final decisions on the basis of the recommendation. Once official approval has been given, Origins will notify you by telephone and in writing, and assign a social worker to you who will visit you at home and agree a supporting working contract with you. They will then begin sourcing suitable placements for you immediately. All relevant Tusla Fostering Departments will be made aware of your availability as a foster carer.

19. Once I’m approved, how long will I have to wait for my first placement?
The time between getting approved and having your first placement varies from person to person. It normally takes around 6 months to go through the approval process. After this, you can begin receiving referrals right away, but we’ll always try and match you with the best possible placement based on your individual needs and circumstances.

20. What payments and allowances will I receive?
The statutory fostering allowance is currently €352 per week, per child, although this can vary depending on placement type.

21. What does the allowance cover?
Your weekly allowance is intended to cover living costs such as food, clothes, school books, basic travel and household bills.

22. Will I be taxed on this income?
The allowances you receive when fostering with us are exempt from taxation under the Finance Bill 2005. This also means that the money you earn isn’t classed as income when applying for certain benefits and will not affect your ability to receive disability allowance, disability benefit, unemployment assistance or a medical card.

23. What are the benefits Origins foster carers receive?

  • A highly committed support team
  • 24 hour on call telephone support
  • Your own dedicated social worker
  • Regular meetings
  • Training & Education
  • Therapeutic interventions
  • Tailored care packages
  • Respite
  • Support groups
  • Foster Care covering all of Ireland

Origins Covid-19 Announcement

We are continuing to operate the fostering service within the Government guidelines for Social Distancing.

We are working to protect all our employees, foster carers and children in our service.

Our enquiry line is still open for those interested in becoming foster carers.