AFF often receives enquires about fostering and this is something that is encouraged by both the MOD and the chain of command as they recognise the demand for loving, secure homes for looked after children.

Often army families don’t think they can foster because of their mobile lifestyle, so Karen Ross, AFF Health & Additional Needs Specialist, spoke to Maria White, Fostering Marketing & Recruitment Manager at Oxfordshire County Council, to explore what support they can give armed forces families who want to foster.


Short-term placements can be from a few weeks to two years. The expectation is that you can commit to a child for that time – you’ll need to confirm that you won’t be moving out of the county for two years.

During this time the decisions are being made about the child’s long-term future, which might be adoption or long-term fostering. If you’re thinking about the child remaining with you long term, the council would support you with this. We would then continue to offer support even if you moved out of the county.

We also support kinship carers who are caring for an Oxfordshire child. Kinship care is when a relative or friend of the family offers to care for a child they know.


These are a few of the ways that Oxfordshire County Council foster carers are rewarded:

  • A set-up payment of £1,500 to help make the transition to foster carer.
  • Generous fees, paid in addition to the child’s allowance, based on experience and skills.
  • 24/7 dedicated social worker support and links with support groups, specialised training and therapeutic advice.
  • Access to professionals involved with the child or children.


After your initial conversation with us and on completion of your application, your assessment begins. Stage one involves checks and asking for references, so we can get to know more about you. Stage two involves around eight visits and it can take from four to six months to complete the whole assessment.


You can transfer over to us. The process is very easy, we would ask your current fostering agency to share your Form F (your assessment document) with us. We would update it and you could then be approved by our fostering panel. You might need to update your training, but the process will not take too long. We could then start liaising with you about the children who are looking for families.


There is a specific policy that can be accessed via MODnet (2018DIN01-130) that covers adoption and fostering – this is currently being updated.

Many families who are considering becoming foster carers will initially contact their local authority – each one has a fostering service.

There is also more general information about fostering at (England), (Scotland), (Wales) and (Northern Ireland).

There are also several private fostering agencies that provide advice and support.


Sarah and her husband always said that they would foster but it never seemed the right time. When the war in Ukraine began and there were a lot of news stories showing children left without families, they agreed that it was time to explore this.

Sarah said: “We are a very active family and decided that we had enough room in our hearts and house for some more children. We spoke to our children and decided to start the process the next day.”

Sarah fosters two children through an agency called TACT, which is a fostering charity. Sarah explains: “I have a dedicated supervising social worker who is available for any issues that may arise. TACT also provides lots of training for all my family members, including my children.”

The fostering process took Sarah and her husband about eight months and in that time she had to provide a lot of information. Sarah explained: “As long as you’re quite organised it’s not that bad.

Obviously, we had to sit down as a family and discuss the process before we had any other children, to make sure we were all ready to go through this experience together. My two youngest children (aged 22 and 17) are still at home so it impacted them as well.”


Sarah has completed 30 years in the regular army and has now moved onto a full-time reserve service (home commitment) contract. Sarah’s husband left the army quite a few years back to look after their youngest child, which enabled her to deploy whilst she was in regular service.

Sarah says: “The army now has great flexible service options that allow you not to deploy for certain periods. So I don’t really have any challenges at the moment.

“My employer has been amazing, both when I started the process (at a prior unit) and then when we actually got through the process and got our two boys. They have not stopped supporting me throughout, whether that is giving me time to attend meetings or training or just taking an interest in what activities we’ve been doing.”


Sarah says her children “have been empathetic to our other boys and always willing to help out, whether that’s cooking or reading a bedtime story”. She adds: “I believe it has made our family even closer as my children realise that we are a good family unit and understand how lucky we are to have each other.”

Sarah concludes: “It’s very rewarding to foster. There are so many children out there who need loving families.

“I would say go for it and take the plunge. I’m not saying everything is plain sailing, but getting a cuddle and seeing them come alive doing an activity for the first time is a reward in itself.”


Foster Carer Associates:

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