According to the BBC, the number of children in care is estimated to reach 100,000 by 2025, a rise of 36% in a decade [1].

At the same time, the cost of living crisis and the after-effects of Covid have all contributed to a reduction in the number of foster carers in the UK. This has meant that many more children now require support from a fostering agency in London and all over the country too.


Children of all ages and backgrounds may need foster care at some point if they can’t stay with their birth family. For some, foster care will be a short term solution, but for others, it could last several years.

Foster care is a very important part of supporting young people and your local community for a variety of reasons.

The most important is that foster care can fundamentally change a child’s life for the better by providing them with a safe space and consistent care. Foster carers not only look after their everyday needs but help young people to thrive by supporting their unique educational requirements. There is a significant attainment gap between children in care and children not in care. For example, around 15% of children in foster care receive a grade A-C in GCSE maths, compared to around 60% of their peers. Giving them a regular routine and specific support can close this gap and set them up for future success.

Foster care is also very important in helping children to develop their emotional and social needs. Having to leave the family home for whatever reason is a traumatic experience, and some children may have also experienced abuse or neglect. Foster care can support them in building / re-building their self-esteem, resilience, and social skills and in recovering from these traumatic early experiences.

If you’re new to foster care, this may sound a little daunting, but your local fostering agency in London, or your area will give you the tools and help you learn the skills you need to look after children with additional needs.


There are many reasons why children may need to go into foster care, from parental illness to cases where parents may require mental health or addiction support. The aim of foster care, wherever possible, is to help families to remain together. Foster care allows parents to receive support, too, and whether the foster care is a short or long term placement, all carers play a special role in helping to give not only the children but their families, essential support.


Foster care also plays an important role in supporting the local community. By giving children a safe space to live, foster carers are helping to address wider social problems, such as homelessness, poverty, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Ascent is a fostering agency in South London with many years of experience. If you’re thinking of becoming a foster carer, or you’d like to learn more about what it involves, please call us on 0204 538 3699 or have a look at the FAQ page on our website.

Who can apply to become a foster parent


According to, around three quarters of looked after children live in foster care with foster parents. Thinking about becoming a foster parent can feel daunting, but it’s also an incredibly rewarding experience.


The short answer is that anyone who is over the age of 21, with a SPARE ROOM, plenty of energy, a sense of humour, the desire to learn and develop their skills, and a lot of love can become a foster parent. There’s no upper age limit, or financial eligibility – all you need to do is to be able to provide children with a stable, loving background.

It’s not necessary to be in a relationship to become a foster parent or to have your own children. You’ll only need to be able to make the commitment to support your placed child, with support from a team of other professionals.

Children needing foster care come from a diverse variety of backgrounds and foster parents come from a broad mixture of backgrounds too. It’s important that you can empathise with a child’s situation and give them a loving home for the time they’re with you. This could be a short term, temporary situation, or a longer term arrangement.


It’s not necessary to be a British citizen to be a foster parent in the UK, but you will need to be a full-time resident, or have indefinite leave to remain.


The process of becoming a foster parent usually takes about 3 -4 months with Ascent. The process starts with a telephone conversation, followed by a home visit from a member of the Ascent team. A formal assessment will then take place, with input from a social worker. It can seem an overwhelming process, but the Ascent fostering team will be here at every step of the way to talk you through it. Click to see out Journey to becoming a therapeutic foster carer.


Every foster carer will receive a weekly allowance to help them with the costs of looking after a child or young person, including clothing, food, and pocket money. Ascent also offers additional financial support for holidays and 21 days paid respite PA.

The amount you receive will vary depending on the age and complexity of the child, and the individual agency’s rates. Foster carers are treated as self-employed for tax purposes. There is a specific tax scheme foster carers can use called Qualifying Care Relief. The scheme calculates a tax threshold unique to the fostering household which determines if a foster carer has to pay any tax from their fostering.

The Ascent Fostering website is full of information about the whole journey of becoming a foster parent. We also offer online information sessions about fostering, which are a great way to find out more.

If you would like to find out more about how to become a foster carer, please click here and we’ll give you a call, or alternatively call us on 020 3 757 0070 or join us for one of our open mornings.

Reasons to become a foster carer with Ascent Fostering Agency

Choosing to become a foster carer is a big decision. It comes with various challenges and responsibilities, but is a hugely noble and rewarding decision that can positively impact the lives of children and teenagers in need.. If you are considering fostering in London, it helps to understand how it can benefit everyone involved.


In some circumstances, a child can no longer stay safely with their birth parents. This may be because of violence or neglect in the home, but it may also be because the parent is experiencing significant health issues and cannot adequately provide care. Fostering in London provides a safe home for the child on a temporary basis, ensuring that their needs are met but with the aim that the family will be reunited as soon as possible and safe to do so.


  • Provide love,  nurture, stability and guidance to children and young people who have had their lives disrupted

There are a wide range of reasons as to why children may need to enter foster care, but all involve significant disruption to their lives, including the loss of their birth family. This can cause long-term behavioural issues and difficulty forming attachments. You can help them feel secure in a stable environment, so they have a chance to heal.  Ascent works with a number of  therapeutic professionals who are there to help our young people to acknowledge their loss and trauma and give them the tools to be able to better manager their feelings.

  • Encourage children to grow and achieve

Part of your role as a foster carer is to encourage the children you care for to be the best they can be. From assisting them with their homework to encouraging their hobbies and simply showing them your unconditional support, you can play a significant role in helping them achieve their full potential, even if they have not had the best start in life.

  • Prevent families from being permanently separated!

Even in cases with significant abuse, separating a child from their birth parents can cause trauma. The goal of fostering, unlike adoption, is always family reunification, in line with the considerable evidence that, in most cases, this is the healthiest outcome for everyone involved.

  • Keep things local.

Children can be fostered a long way from home, but the general aim is to keep them in the same area. This allows them to maintain contact with their school, friends and biological family. You can become an important member of your community, helping local residents who are going through hard times. Ascent is a small family oriented fostering agency who supports foster carers in the South London and Kent/Surrey boarders.

  • Combining fostering with other jobs/raising your own children

Fostering in London takes a lot of time, but it can fit in with the rest of your life. Depending on the specific needs of the child being fostered, you may be able to keep working as normal (including working from home). Fostering is also perfectly compatible with raising your own biological children providing they are fully onboard with the idea of welcoming a new child into the family.


Ascent Fostering knows how challenging fostering  can be  and offers various kinds of support, which includes your dedicated Supervising Social Worker, Out of Hours service, Therapeutic support and mentoring for your young people. We also extend a comprehensive training programme tailor made for you. You will also receive to a monetary allowance to provide for the children in your care and 21 days paid respite.

Almost every family experiences trouble at times. As a foster carer, you can provide unique support and a source of security for a child who has experienced significant hardship whilst still respecting that child’s original birth family. You will not be alone, here at Ascent we organise a number of social events throughout the year to bring our foster families together to help build strong networks for our carers.

Ascent fostering has been awarded “outstanding” by Ofsted and we hold a Platinum level with investors in people, these gradings are testament to the work we do to support young people in our carer and the carers who care for them.

If you would like to find out more about fostering, please contact us on 0203 757 0070 to have an informal chat or if you would like to receive our brochure please click here and we’ll get it straight to you.

The Power of Therapeutic Life Story Work within Fostering

The Power of Therapeutic Life Story Work within Fostering

Everyone has a Story!

The fundamentals of how we view, internalise, experience, and respond to the world are embedded in our earlier life experiences. We all have a history that speaks to the sense of self therefore, having access to your history is important. When children experience multiple moves within the care system, they move further away from the people they have shared life experiences with which results in a fragmentation of their personal history and makes it more difficult to develop a strong sense of self and identity. Furthermore, being denied access to these earlier experiences and understanding their impact on the present and the future makes it difficult to develop into a psychologically healthy adult.

Why do we do therapeutic life story work?

Life story work gives children who are in the care system or who have been adopted, access to their history and supports them in processing and making sense of their past experiences. It aims to provide a written interpretation of the child’s life journey from birth to the present. Whereas ‘traditional’ completion of life story work does not always include the child or the caregiver, therapeutic life story work invites the foster carer and the child to participate in the process along with the life story work practitioner. This allows for both to develop their knowledge of each other, thereby strengthening the connection between the two and allowing them to become attuned to each other.

What are the Benefits of conducting therapeutic life story work with our young people

Therapeutic life story work not only focuses on the who, what, when why and how of past experiences but also considers the impact, these experiences have on the child in the present and how it may manifest in complex behaviours and feelings. The model offers not only a way of knowing your past but also an opportunity to heal and reframe negative narratives and empower the child in creating a strong sense of self. It can be powerful in helping children to reflect on how they approach various difficulties in their lives and lead them on a path of resolution and healing.

I worked with a 14 year old male and his foster carer during the process. J stated: ‘Lifestory work has helped me to recognise my feelings. It helped me to not put it in a box’.

The foster carer stated: ‘He has stopped being afraid to say what exactly is going on for him. He is more expressive’

Nicky Challen-Probert our Team Manager is an accredited Therapeutic Life Story Work Practitioner and has been working with many of our young ones to help them through this process, Here’s what Nicky has to say.

To find out more about Therapeutic Life Story work click through to TLSWi

If you would like to find out more about fostering with Ascent call us on 0203 757 0070 for chat or attend one of our open mornings.

Dyadic Developmental Practice (DDP)

Dan Hughes, a Clinical Psychologist, created Dyadic developmental psychotherapy (DDP) as a treatment for families with adopted or fostered childrenwho had experienced neglect and abuse in their birth families and suffered fromsignificant developmental trauma.

DDP is a therapeutic model which combines Psychotherapy & Parenting, focusingon the importance of the quality within the relationship between child/youngp erson & carer/parent with emphasis on safety and connection. There is so much to unpack in this model but below are some key topics to give a little flavour of what it’s all about!

The DDP model unpicks the difficulties children and young people present with because of developmental trauma. Developmentally traumatized children learn to survive and navigate their everyday life without safety, security or healthy connections. This is often done without the stability of a responsible adult due to growing up an environment which includes physical or sexual abuse, emotional harm or neglect. As a result, these children present with behaviours rooted in fear, shame, developmental delay and pain which relays in unhealthy ways such as self- harming, self-sabotaging, emotional outbursts, withdrawal/isolating, etc.

As dyadic means between 2 people, intersubjectivity is a key term in DDP based on reciprocity dynamics: “I impact you and you impact me”. With this in mind, the DDP model centres a great deal of its strategies and teachings around a concept called

PACE– Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy. The DDP approach believes that this combination of affection, enables healing and creates psychological safety.

PLAYFUL – being playful creates an open and approachable atmosphere.

ACCEPTANCE – acknowledges and validates the child/young person’s internal experience and sense of self.

CURIOSITY – in the stance of wondering WHY? Or WHAT is driving the behaviours/feelings of the child, leads to a path of understanding. Dialogue and thought opens up to think more and find solutions than to react to the situation. Using phrases like “I’ve noticed that…” Or “I wonder why you…”

EMPATHY – creates capacity to imagine what the child/young person is feeling and is shared, letting the other know they are being understood and are not alone in their feelings. This can be demonstrated through letting them know how their story/behaviour/ feeling that they’ve shared has impacted you eg. “I can see how hurt you feel and hearing about this painful experience, makes me feel so sad to know you have gone through this. It must have been so difficult for you”.

Another little nugget that the DDP model highlights, is a concept of “Blocked Care”, addressing when it becomes challenging to continue giving care to a child/young person because of the lack of response that their giving when support/care/help is provided for them. The model acknowledges that this feeling of “wanting to give up” is a normal response but highlights that the child’s/young person’s lack of response to care given, comes from a place of the distorted ways in which they’ve learnt to relate, with the unconscious intention of controlling the others’ emotions via evoking/projecting feelings of anger, inadequacy or hopelessness. When Blocked Care is acknowledged as a normal response to the child/young person’s behaviour rather than a state of being or a sign to throw in the towel, it becomes a lot easier to address and recover from!

In short, the DDP model is very experiential and worth exploring when it comes to working through the trust process that takes place when building the relationship between a carer/parent and child/young person.

Here at Ascent Fostering, we train all our staff and carers in the DDP model. The PACE concept has become second nature to our foster carers who have been able to engage with their young people in a positive and constructive way.

Find out more about DDP

If you live in South London and want to learn more about Fostering, we’d love to hear from you. Either click on the link and we’ll call you back or call us on 0203 757 0070.

Parent and Child Foster Placements

Parent and Child foster placements are a very special type of fostering placement. The placement provides mum or dad with a great opportunity to learn how to parent their child and give them the skills, knowledge, and confidence to live a successful safe and fulfilled life with their baby.

Who are the parents?

Most placements are for young mothers who have either experienced poor parenting themselves, have been in care, are victims of domestic abuse or have mental health issues.  Many will not have the benefit of a supportive family and they may well suffer from low self-esteem and motivation.

What is the role of a Parent and Child foster carer?

The role of the carer is to provide a healthy environment for both parent and child to grow. This is achieved primarily through mentoring and observation.

Young parents who have had a tough start in life sometimes struggle to understand the enormity of caring for a new baby, they will require lots of support and guidance. This could be by helping them identify why a baby is crying, whether it is for comfort, food, a nappy change, or whether they are in distress. Helping the parents understand nutrition and food preparation and creating a stimulating environment for the baby is essential for their growth and development will be one of the key objectives.

Some parents may well be disengaged from the baby and give precedence to watching television, being on their phone or wishing to go out with friends rather than prioritizing the needs of the child,  it would be important to encourage a proactive involvement with the child.

Danielle’s Experience with a Parent and Child placement

Our carer Danielle believes that nurture and attachment are the foundations of a successful positive outcome for parent and child foster placements. Her advice is to meet the unmet needs of the parent so they can in turn meet the needs of their baby. She found that at the beginning of her placements taking on daily practicalities such as washing, cooking, cleaning etc to give mum or dad the time to concentrate on feeding and building a strong bond with the baby was paramount, the practical side can be slowly introduced at the right time. Providing a no judgemental narrative with the parent about the baby’s responses and reactions really helps an understanding of the baby’s development.

Danielle found that writing logs together was a good way for both carer and parent to reflect on how they are coping, what they feel they need additional support with and how they are bonding their child.

Challenges and Rewards of Parent and Child fostering placements

We asked Danielle what she found the most challenging and the most rewarding part of her fostering experience with Parent and Child.

“One of the main challenges was managing the expectations of the different agencies involved as it is likely both the parent and child are looked after and ensuring that each agency was communicating and working together towards a common goal.  Another consideration is to the relationship of the mother or father’s partner and if there is co-parenting to be considered.”

“I took so much joy from seeing how “T” grew to love her baby and how her baby loved her back”

Danielle and her family are in regular contact with “T” and her growing family, they often babysit and share family days out.

Helping to keep families together can be the most rewarding experience.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer and working with Parent and Child  placement,  please call our office on

0203 757 0070

Or visit our website

Dispelling the myths around fostering

There are so many myths and misconceptions floating around about fostering that at times it can be confusing and can create stumbling blocks when looking into your suitability to foster. My advice is always to make a call and speak to your local fostering agency, they will guide you and give you the best advice for your situation. However, I thought I would share some of the most common myths and hopefully dispel some of the misconceptions.


Yes, is the short answer.  It is incredibly important that young people coming into care have their own safe space and privacy. The only exception is if you are fostering babies,  babies can be in the same room as their carers till the age of 12 – 18 months.


Not a problem,  it is not necessary that you are a homeowner, if you are renting we would just need assurance that there is stability on your rental agreement and that your landlord is in agreement with your fostering application.


Absolutely!  Being single is no barrier to fostering, we would just ask you to consider your network and who can give you support.


There is no upper age limit to foster, all we ask is that you are young at heart, fit, healthy and have bags of energy.


Having pets does not prevent you from fostering, in fact, they can be an asset to a foster family. However, every animal is different and your pets will be assessed as part of the process of becoming a foster carer, taking into account factors such as their temperament and behaviour. As a pet owner, you also need to think about how you would feel and react if a child injures one of your pets.


You are not required to have British citizenship to be a foster carer in the UK. However, you need to be a full-time resident in the UK. Children from a wide range of backgrounds need fostering, so foster families usually come from all walks of life. If you are in the UK for a limited time, we will not pursue an application due to the time and cost implications of approving people to foster.


Your health will be considered when applying to foster and any long-term conditions are taken into account. The most important factor is whether you are physically and psychologically fit enough to cope with the demands of caring for a child – this may vary depending on the age of the children that you are approved for.


You can apply to become a foster carer if one of your children has a disability. The fostering service that you apply to will want to discuss with you how you would balance the needs of any children who are placed with you with those of your own child and what the impact of having other children in their home could be on your own child.


A fostering service may have their own policy regarding foster carers working, but it is often possible to work full-time or part-time, however, this will be dependent on the needs and age of the child(ren). Foster carers are expected to be available to care for children, attend meetings, training, support groups, and to promote and support contact between a child and their family. Ascent Fostering would not usually consider it appropriate for a fostered child to be in full-time daycare while their foster carer works, but may consider the use of after-school clubs and other childcare arrangements for older children.

I do hope you have found this useful, if you have any additional myths you’d like us to bust, please call our friendly team on 0203 757 0070, we’re here to help. Or visit our website and sign up for one of our online information sessions.

Ascent is a South London-based independent therapeutic fostering agency, rated outstanding by Ofsted. We look to recruit foster carers in the boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth, Southwark, Sutton, Bromley, Wandsworth and Merton.

What is respite foster care and who can provide it?

What is respite foster care?

Whilst a child is in care their foster parents may need to take some valuable time out either to recharge their batteries, deal with family circumstances or have time to heal from illness. It’s at these times we would reach out to our respite families to have the child or children come and stay for a short period of time in respite foster care.  Stays could be just overnight or potentially for a week or two, some children receive regular respite.

During their stay, the respite carer would take on the full responsibility of the primary foster carer, ensuring that the daily routines and structure in place are maintained to give stability. This could mean facilitating the school run and after school activities, birth family contact, health professional appointments, etc.  We encourage our respite carers to build positive relationships with our young people by involving them with aspects of your own life.

Here are a few quotes our respite carers would like to share.

“As respite foster parents, every child we have looked after has had a positive impact on our lives”

“We aim to find out about the child ‘s routine, likes/dislikes before their stay from their main foster parent(s) and/or the agency so that we can maintain consistency and, if possible, meet them in an environment which is most comfortable for them; this can be a visit to our home or their home or a meeting in a park/public space.”

“A meal together at the table or a slice of cake creates a warm welcome for our foster children on arrival.”

“We have enjoyed many long walks, through woods, parks and countryside with our foster children and sometimes together with our extended family.
For those older children who like animals, we have walked rescue greyhound dogs.
We have fond memories of sitting in our garden for hours with a teenager discussing current affairs.”

Could you become a respite foster carer?

All we ask for is a spare room in a loving home, your patience, resilience, time, and compassion. No experience is necessary, however, experience with children with complex behaviour is always an added bonus. Respite placements are usually planned and there is normally time for you to meet with the young person prior to them staying with you.

The process to become a respite carer is the same as becoming a foster carer, you will receive the same training opportunities, be assigned your own supervising social worker, and be included in all our family activities regardless if you have a child in placement or not. Steps to becoming a foster carer.

If you would like to find out more about respite fostering and help make a positive impact on a child’s life, please call us on 203 757 0070 or click on the link to request a callback.

Children’s Mental Wellbeing Week – Growing Together

7th – 13th February

We were pleased to learn that this week’s Children’s Mental Wellbeing Week theme was “Growing Together” as this perfectly reflects the work that Ascent Fostering and our carers aspire to achieve with all the children who come into our care.

It’s been a really challenging time for children over the last couple of years, with the covid pandemic changing their routines and stability. More time being spent at home has, in some cases put children under an enormous strain and stress, and potential danger. Social Media continues to bring its’s own challenges, managing our children’s access to disturbing content and images remains a constant battle.

We support our foster carers and children with a number of activities and training that really focuses on growing together. Our Sensory and Nurturing attachments courses are great examples of this, as we give our carers the tools to understand when children are finding situations overwhelming and how they can regulate their behaviour.

We’d like to share “Maria’s Story” an example of how we grow with our carers and children.

Maria’s Story highlights that strong consistent parenting support can have a positive impact on young people. The community is also extremely important in the journey, Ascent is pleased to partner with a local charity Reaching Higher with offers a number of programmes that challenges young people to be leaders of their own lives.

For more information on Children’s Mental Wellbeing Week and how you can get involved visit

If you live in South London and would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer and giving children who have had a challenging start in life a safe and loving home, please give us a call on 0203 757 0070 we’d love to hear from you.

Ascent 2021 Round Up

Here is  the Ascent Fostering 2021 Round Up. It’s that time of year again, I can’t believe we are already in 2022!

It’s been an eventful 2021 for us here at Ascent Fostering Agency, with some extremely exciting changes and updates that took us into 2022, As always we strive to be constant innovators within our field, which brings us to the exciting announcement that we are expanding our services with the opening of Aspen House, a residential home for boys aged 11-15.

Ascent Children Services will now serve as the umbrella company that encompasses Ascent Fostering Agency and Ascent Family homes. As always we are committed to a therapeutic approach, to build strong relationships, establish ourselves within the community and give young people the skills and strategies to cope in their world. Our vision is to see Ascent grow into an organisation that is known for supporting young people in reaching their full potential.

Head over to the website to learn more about our newest venture:

So much went on in 2021 and we want to share with you what happened:

Ascent has a commitment to learning so we ensure that our staff and carers are fully equipped to support our young people and give them the best care. This year we delivered new training courses such as:

The Just Right State Programme

This training gave foster parents an insight into how to regulate their child from sensory and attachment perspectives. They learnt about; the different levels of self- regulation (physiological, sensory, emotional, and cognitive); the regulating effects of food and activities; and how to create an enriched environment that is tailor made both for you and your child’s sensory-attachment needs.

Creative techniques for communicating with children

This workshop looked at the principles underlying art therapy and how you can use creativity to support the mental health, emotional wellbeing, and resilience of the children you care for. It also explored building and strengthening your relationship with your young people. Sharing how you explore how you can harness the interests, culture, and inherent creativity of children to support them to make sense of themselves and their world.

We also have some exciting new courses that will be introduced in 2022:

Girls Group

Trudy Darien will be facilitating a 2-day course to explore the disadvantages faced by girls and young women in society with an emphasis on the vulnerability of girls and young women in the care system.

  • To further reflect on the unmet needs of girls and young women in our care.
  • To understand these needs in the context of Trauma
  • To develop our understanding of cycles of abuse and dependency
  • To develop a strategies of support

We also had the pleasure of welcoming new carers into the Ascent family, they included Marlene and Patricia as well as saying hello to new team members Cheyenne, Supervising Social Worker and Diana Finance Manager. They have been a wonderful extension to the team and we are grateful to have them.

This year we welcomed another cohort of students; Tatum, Keilly, Abigael and Melissa.

With hellos, there were also some goodbyes. We were sad to say goodbye to Remi and Chantelle who were fantastic members of the team and who will be greatly missed but we wish them the very best on their new career journeys and can’t wait to see all they achieve.

As the Covid restrictions began to lift it meant we could get together again and go on Ascent days out.

In April, the sun shone brightly as we headed out to the South Bank for a stroll and took a river boat down to Greenwich for lunch.

In August, we took the whole Ascent family to the seaside for a day out in Southend. There was fun and games on the beach followed by a fish and chip lunch (because what’s a day at the seaside without a classic fish and chips).

Before we headed back to school in August we held our first annual Ascent Fest, lots of families joined us for a picnic in the park with rounders, tug of wars and plenty of arts and crafts.

Earlier this month Sita organised a great evening out for our young people to see the London Lions basketball team take on the Manchester Giants at the Copperbox arena –  The Lions smashed it beating rivals 107- 80.

Even with the unrest and uncertainty of Covid, we still have been able to have an eventful year. As always we remain vigilant about the pandemic and ensure that we operate a safe environment in line with the government guidelines.

We want to thank all our team members, foster carers, trainers and those who work with Ascent for all their continued support and hard work and we look forward to what 2022 has to bring.

Until next year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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