Fostering requirements in the UK
For anyone thinking about fostering, the only specific requirements are that you’re over 21, have the right to live and work in the UK, and have a spare room in your house. You'll also need to be passionate about making a positive difference to a child's life. If you can answer yes to each of these, then we'd love to hear from you.
However, we know that potential foster parents have plenty of other questions about the requirements to foster – including about age, marital status, work experience and qualifications, as well as religious beliefs, sexual orientation and disability. The short answer is that none of this matters and we welcome applications from everyone, whoever you are. All we’re interested in is you as a person, and that you have the qualities and environment to care for children. Among others, this means patience, understanding, tolerance and compassion.
Having said that, fostering is a full-on and full-time commitment with big responsibilities, and we need to ensure we’re right for each other. So there are a few things you might like to think about because we’ll be exploring them throughout your application and assessment.
Things you'll need to consider...
There’s a lot to think about when starting your fostering journey and so we have a friendly and experienced team who are dedicated to answering your questions and offering non-judgemental advice so you can decide whether fostering is right for you.
Health and wellbeing
There's no upper age limit for fostering and having a disability or underlying health conditions (including mental health) will not necessarily stand in your way. However, we need to be sure that you’re able to meet the challenges of fostering and that the demands won’t affect your own wellbeing.
Experience of children
Although we pay an attractive fostering allowance, it’s only made when children are in your care. Although the time between placements is likely to be short, we can’t guarantee it – so we need to know you’ll be able to cope financially just in case.
This isn’t just about having a spare room that's always available to a child in your care. It’s about having a safe and suitable home, so we’ll make visits to carry out assessments.
Time in your life
Fostering is pretty much 24/7, including weekends. And though they’ll attend school, children can also get ill and need to stay at home, or be sent home from school. Accordingly, we have to be sure you’ll be around for them at all times, which is why most of our foster parents don’t have a full-time job. It’s not a deal-breaker, but we’ll both need to give it some thought.
Like anyone, you’ll have people you can call on for help and support, such as parents or other family members. Will they be there for you when you need them?
Like all fostering organisations, we’re required by law to make a few important background checks, including with the police and social services. We’ll also ask for references from friends and previous partners.
Understanding the responsibilities
Fostering comes with a list of responsibilities and it’s important you understand what’s involved and what you’re being asked to do. A caring personality is vital, as is the ability to work with and connect with others, including social workers and care professionals.
You may be interested in...
Many of our foster parents are from the LGBTQ community and they are transforming children's lives every day.Find out more
Am I too old to foster?
Many people rule themselves out as they think they're too old. But there's simply no upper age limit to foster.Find out more
Can I foster with a disability?
A disability will not prevent you from fostering, as long as you can meet the needs of a child in your care.Find out more
Mental health conditions
A mental health condition won't automatically rule you out, providing you can meet the needs of a child.Find out more
Can I be single and foster?
Absolutely, we have some fantastic foster parents - both men and women - who are doing amazing work with our children.Find out more
Do you need experience?
You don't need any prior experience or special qualifications to foster - although it is beneficial.Find out more
Do you need a spare room?
It's a requirement to have a spare bedroom to foster - and this room must always be available to the child in your care.Find out more
Can't find what you're looking for?
One of our team is available to talk to you over the phone to answer any of your fostering queries.
You can get in touch by filling out our online enquiry form with any queries that you may have.
Your local team
Find contact details for your local office team. We’re always happy for you to pop-in and chat.