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Fostering children with disabilities

You can help shape a child’s life no matter how much time you have to spare. We need more people to support children with disabilities and enhance their life. The majority of our children do not need to be cared for in a specially adapted home, or even by someone with professional experience. They just need to be able to nurture and support the child and make them feel safe.

We have been training people to care for children with complex needs for more than 50 years. Some foster carers bring transferrable skills from their professional or home life to the role. If you've worked in teaching, nursing or care, you'll already have many of the skills you need to look after children with disabilities. However, we welcome anyone who is kind, committed, resilient and patient. Our specialist training and support fully prepares you for your new role.

You are eligible to foster a child with disabilities or autism if you:  

  • are over the age of 21  
  • have a spare bedroom
  • can offer your time, patience and commitment to supporting a child with disabilities. 

What’s involved

It takes about six months to become a foster carer for a child with disabilities. A social worker will support you through the process and we'll give you all the training you need. You will need to complete some background and medical checks and you'll meet with the local Fostering Panel at the end of the process who will approve you for fostering. 

This training period gives you all the skills you need to foster a child with disabilities. If you have no prior experience or don't know if you have a suitable home for a child with a disability, don't discount yourself. You can always get in touch for an informal chat if you're unsure.

What you could earn  

We have recently significantly increased our fees for fostering children with disabilities.  You can earn between £500–£1000 per week for fostering a child with a disability full-time, plus an allowance. People who foster through our specialist scheme, Fee-paid Short Breaks can earn more.

You get 28 days of holiday and an allowance of up to £236.95 per week to cover your foster child’s clothes and food, as well as bonuses to help towards birthday and Christmas presents.

You'll receive a full package of practical and professional support, including travel expenses and counselling from our clinical psychologists if needed.  Find out more about what you can earn as a foster carer.

Types of fostering a child with disabilities

There are different ways to foster a child with disabilities, offering different lengths of care and types of commitment.

Short breaks

Short breaks is when you offer respite care on a part-time flexible basis.

Short breaks involves:

  • caring for a child from one weekend per month
  • earning £12.91 per hour up to 11 hours and a £90 overnight fee
  • ideal for someone who has some personal or professional experience of caring for children with disabilities, or has transferable skills

Short- or long-term placements

Short- and long-term placements are when a child with disabilities lives with you all the time. It can be just a few weeks or it could be until they are independent.

With short- and long-term placements, you can:

  • foster a child for a few weeks or months at a time
  • choose to foster the child through to the age of 18
  • earn between £500 to £1,000 per child per week, plus an allowance for each child
  • ideal for someone who has some personal or professional experience of caring for children with disabilities, or has transferable skills

Fee-paid short breaks

Fee-paid short breaks is when you provide respite care on either a part-time or full-time basis. You look after a child with disabilities for 3 or 5 days each week.

With fee-paid short breaks, you can:

  • offer 3 night placements (part-time) or 5 night placements (full-time), 48 weeks of the year
  • earn £100 per night, plus a £90 bonus for each night a child is with you
  • care for a small number of children throughout the year

Fee-paid short breaks require professional experience. For example, you might have worked in a special school or residential setting. Alternatively, you might have worked with adults with disabilities and have strong transferable skills.

Find out more about the different types of fostering.

Why choose Essex Fostering?  

We are rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted for our overall effectiveness in fostering. We are highly regarded for our social work practices and for improving the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection.   

We make sure our foster carers are emotionally, practically and financially supported. We offer bespoke training, 24/7 support, a dedicated social worker, access to mental health coordinators and clinical psychologists as well as a network of support groups. We also provide our carers with regular respite breaks so that everyone can look after themselves and recharge. 

As an Essex County Council service, we oversee all the children in care in Essex. This means we are able to carefully match children that suit your family, taking into consideration individual needs and experience.

We are a non-profit organisation and our only motivation is the well-being of children.  Find out more about our training and support.

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer, please request a call back and our friendly team will be in touch.

Meet some foster carers for children with disabilities

Some of our foster carers have shared their stories of fostering children with disabilities.

Read their stories in our news section:

Get in touch

Request a call back using our form below to find out more about fostering a child with disabilities.

Request a call back

or to talk to our friendly recruitment team call 0800 801 530



“All children need love and a child with disabilities is no different.”

“I quickly got used to the child and their individual needs and have had amazing support from Essex County Council.”

“I had always been reluctant to foster a child with disabilities as I didn’t feel that I had the relevant experience. Little did I know, my first experience of fostering would reverse my opinion emphatically.”