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.

Could you foster?

Meet the requirements to foster and ready to take the next step? Chat to our team today...

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

Experience with children isn’t essential (although it is beneficial). However, we’ll need to know that you’re fully aware of the challenges ahead. You’re more likely to understand this if you’ve had your own children or worked with them in a voluntary or professional capacity.

Previous experience with children

Financial stability

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.

Allowance calculator

Home environment

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.

Work and fostering

Support network

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?

Life history

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.

Background checks

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.

About fostering

You may be interested in...

can same sex couples foster

LGBTQ fostering

Many of our foster parents are from the LGBTQ community and they are transforming children's lives every day.

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Am i too old to foster?

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
fostering with a disability

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
Can you foster with mental health problems

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 you be a foster parent if you’re single

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 to foster a child

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 to foster

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 you work and be a foster parent

Can I work and foster?

Most choose to focus on fostering, however, it can still be possible to work alongside fostering.

Find out more

Speak to our team

Ready to take your first step into fostering? We're here to support you on your journey...

Please make sure you read our terms and conditions because you're agreeing to them by submitting an enquiry. It's also worth reading our privacy policy and cookies policy so you understand how we collect and use your personal data. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Please make sure you read our terms and conditions because you're agreeing to them by submitting an enquiry. It's also worth reading our privacy policy and cookies policy so you understand how we collect and use your personal data. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Download our brochure

Discover everything you need to know about fostering by downloading our brochure, including;

  • Types of fostering
  • Requirements to foster
  • Application process
  • Training and support
  • Allowances and benefits

Fill out your details on the following form and you'll receive our Guide to Fostering. 

Can't find what you're looking for?

By phone

One of our team is available to talk to you over the phone to answer any of your fostering queries.

0800 3698512

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Your local team

Find contact details for your local office team. We’re always happy for you to pop-in and chat.

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