Many people worry that they would not able to foster - that is simply not true. If you have any questions then ask us.
You don’t need a 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 70s.
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 two 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.
What help will I get? Carers receive a generous allowance and a skills payment depending on experience, 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 be willing to develop new skills and able to work with a child’s family, social work and other professional agencies as part of a child-focused team.
Most importantly you need to have enough time in your life and space in your home to care for a child or teenager.
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 and motivation to help you and the children develop a strong and trusting relationship.
Watch our Could I foster video?
Transcript of video
There isn't a special qualification, it doesn't matter where you come from, what age you are, whether you are married or single. It's about a warm heart and having the time and space to make a difference in a child's world now or forever.
To foster, just your life experience means you have the skills to help them reach their full potential and we'll give you all the training you need.
Frequently asked questions about eligibility
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?
Foster children do need their own room however, in some circumstances for children under two 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 to share a room,
If you do not have a spare room and you are living in rented accommodation we may be able to assist you with housing, so please still contact us. We can discuss your individual situation and may be able to broker enhanced accommodation that will meet the family’s needs with the relevant District Council.
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 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.