Could you foster? | Oxfordshire County Council

Could you foster?

You probably could - just go for it.

Boy with apple

Many people worry that they would not able to foster - that is simply not true.  If you have any questions then contact us.

You don’t need a specific qualification - Once approved, foster carers are supported to achieve the Children's workforce Development Council's (CWDC) Training, Support and Development Standards for foster care.

There is no upper age limit to foster - to foster you have to be over 18, we have foster carers who are still fostering in their 70's.

Single? Not a problem, children need stable loving homes by single parents and couples, whatever their gender or sexual orientation.  If you are applying with a partner you need to have been together for a minimum of 2 years.

Disabilities or not, you can still foster - health concerns or disabilities will not stop you from fostering, provided you can care for the child you foster.

No ethnic matching - there are children from many different backgrounds needing to be fostered, what is important is that you can meet the needs of the child.

What help will I get?  Carers receive a generous allowance alongside specialist training and support.

There is no such thing as a typical foster carer. Like the children they look after, carers come from a variety of different backgrounds, cultures and religions.

What do you need?

You need to enjoy communicating and working with children, be willing to develop new skills and able to work with a child’s family, social work and other professional agencies.

Most importantly you need to have enough time in your life and space in your home to care for a child or young person.

As a carer you will need sensitivity, flexibility and an ability to understand the challenging behaviour children may display at times. It also helps to have a good sense of fun.

Video

Watch our Could I foster video?

 

Frequently asked questions about eligibility

Am I too old?

Probably not! You need to have some life experience and maturity. In fact, some of our foster carers draw a pension!

I'm single/divorced/lesbian/gay - does that matter?

No. We're keen to recruit all types of carers with a wide variety of life experiences.

I have never had children of my own - does that matter?

Not at all, as long as you enjoy children and young people.   You need to be able to understand the problems they have and the ways they might react, especially when they are frightened or angry or find it difficult to trust people.

I work, so would I be able to foster?

It depends on the type of fostering you want to do. Some children and young people need a carer available full time, others don't. It also depends on whether you could get appropriate time off for holiday periods, or if a child is sick, for instance. If you could only look after a child at the weekends or other short periods, you might be able to become a relief or short break carer.

I smoke - does it matter?

Due to the known health risks for babies and younger children in particular, we currently only place children over five years old in households where someone smokes, and this would be only in cases where the child does not have any health issues that need to be taken into consideration. We are working towards a non-smoking policy.

I have a medical condition - can I still foster?

We ask families to have full medicals to ensure that they are fit enough to meet the needs of children placed with them.  If you have any worries about your health then we suggest you let us know and we will request a medical straight away.

Do I have to own my own home?

No, when renting as long as you have a stable tenancy, that will be fine.

Do I need a spare room?

It is preferred that children do have their own room however.  In some circumstances for children under 2 years of age, we do consider room sharing although this is looked at for each individual case dependent on the child’s needs and room space. We would not want birth children and a foster child share a room.

Do you need foster carers who come from a mixed heritage, or from a minority group?

Yes, children who need looking after come from a wide range of backgrounds, and the wider the range of foster carers we have to meet their needs, the better. However, because of the need to communicate with outside agencies and to attend meetings about the fostered child, it is necessary for the main carer to speak English.

I have a police record, would I be suitable?

You must declare all offences, no matter how long ago, and we check all applicants with the police. Offences against children will automatically rule people out, but for other circumstances we will consider the individual situation.

I don't have any formal qualifications - does that matter?

No problem. We'll give you lots of help and advice, and we provide training that is fun and informative. As long as you are able to encourage the young person to get the best out of his or her life, that's what's important. You need to be energetic, patient and child focused, with a good sense of humour.

I had a difficult childhood - can I help other children?

Some foster carers have had difficult experiences in their lives - what is important is what they have made of the experiences, and that they now have a secure lifestyle and a willingness to work with social services.

What if we don’t get on with the children?

Some children will fit in better with your family than others and some will also take longer to adjust to living in your home. However, if there was a real problem, then you must discuss this with your supervising social worker. The likelihood is that if you are finding things difficult then the child may also be feeling this is not the right place for them.

Hopefully with extra support or training, caring for that child or young person becomes easier and more enjoyable. However, sometimes, it may be best for a child to move to another foster family.

Last reviewed
04 May 2016
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