Not only are you allowed to take your foster child on holiday, we actively encourage you to do so. However, there are some important rules to bear in mind. If you’re unsure about regulations, or logistics – you can find out everything you need to know from our detailed guide.
Holidays are beneficial to all children and are part of typical family life. Not only do they introduce children and families to new cultures and experiences, they also encourage socialising and can build confidence in children. Holidays are important for establishing a work-life balance for foster parents and can also open-up foster children to educational and historic aspects of the world for what might be the first time. For foster children, this can play a key role in how they interact with other children due to shared life experiences but most importantly, creates lasting memories to last a lifetime.
As per the Fostering Services: National Minimum Standards document, holidays are included under STANDARD 7 – Leisure Activities stating:
“Children can stay overnight, holiday with friends, or friends and relatives of their foster carer, go on school trips, subject to requirements of the care/placement plan, if foster carers consider it appropriate in individual circumstances. CRB checks are not normally sought as a precondition.”
This simply means that you are permitted to take your foster child on holiday with you, as long as the individual circumstances of the child are considered. When your foster child is placed with you, you will have been informed if there are any health and safety reasons, or otherwise, as to why they may be prohibited to travel with you. This could include any extra permissions that need to be sought from birth parents or local authorities in order to be allowed to travel. However, this is something you would be made aware of at the beginning of your fostering journey with your child.
All foster carers are assigned a supervising social worker. We encourage you to consult with them if you are considering booking a family holiday. Your supervising social worker can help you plan your trip with your foster child’s safety and welfare as paramount. This includes ensuring any additional paperwork is completed and submitted on time whilst guiding you through the process by offering advice so that your holiday runs as smooth as possible.
Holidays abroad may require more paperwork as many foster children do not have passports. This means advanced preparation will be required. You may also need to complete a risk assessment depending on the advice given to you by your supervising social worker. This includes all the potential risks such as managing disagreements, rules of play for young children if there is a pool, accommodation, and privacy as well as usage of mobile phones or going out alone if your foster child is older.
You may also need to consider preparing your foster child for the realities of international travel if they have not experienced it before. New cultures, settings and in some cases, modes of travel, can be challenging. Preparing your foster child by openly communicating and discussing coping strategies can help your foster child enjoy the experience of a holiday abroad. For some foster families, a holiday in the UK can be ideal if international travel is not an option. The benefit of a holiday in the UK includes being within reach of social workers or your fostering agency should an issue arise.
For all children, including foster children, taking a child out of school during term time will result in a fine for foster parents if the reason does not comply with the government’s “extreme circumstances” rule. The extreme circumstances rule includes attending a funeral or visiting a seriously ill family member. You can learn more about school attendance and absence here.
A common requirement for foster care is that foster families can provide foster children with a bedroom of their own. This may be difficult when booking accommodation for a holiday at home or abroad. It is important that you consult your supervising social worker before you book as they will be able to best advise you on how to approach sleeping arrangements and whether a risk assessment is required.
For more information about taking your foster child on holiday, you can get in touch with us here. Although holidaying with your foster child or family can be rewarding and fulfilling, you are also entitled to take a break from your role as full-time carer when you need it. You can learn more about respite foster care options here.
If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.