Am i too old to foster?

Am I too old to foster?

Is there an age limit for foster parents?

To become a foster parent, you have to be aged 21 or over. And that’s pretty much the only age requirement.

There’s no upper limit, so long as you’re physically fit and have the energy and commitment to be able to care for children and young people. Our foster parents come from a real mix of age groups, younger and older, but they all have the same caring qualities.

During your fostering assessment, we will ask you to complete a medical examination with your GP. This will look at both your physical and mental health to check that you're fit and healthy enough to meet the needs of a child, and that the demands of fostering won't have a negative impact on your own health.

Maximum age for fostering

Older foster parents

Most foster parents are older, possibly because they have more time on their hands and are more settled in life and work. Whatever the reasons, a 2015 national survey revealed that almost half of the UK’s foster parents were aged 45-54, with another 30% aged over 55 – so age isn’t an issue at all.

The advantages of being an older foster parent include life experience and often having had children of their own, both of which help.

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Is there an upper age limit for fostering

Younger foster parents

Younger people are under-represented in the world of foster parenting, however, we believe they have so much to offer to children in care. According to a 2015 national survey, just 4% of all foster parents were aged 34 or less.

We understand the reasons (work and social life, mainly) but it means a lot of children are missing out on the care and support of people who are close to them in age and can offer them a safe, loving home.

On the other hand, fostering has a great deal to offer younger foster parents too, including a truly worthwhile career with long-term training and development potential, plus a competitive financial package too.

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Could you foster?

As the number of children coming into care rises, we’re appealing for more people of different ages to consider a rewarding career in fostering.

Frequently asked questions

Who can become a foster parent?

Almost anybody can apply to become a foster parent - the only initial requirements are that you're over 21 years old, you have the legal right to work in the UK and that you have a spare bedroom that's always available to a child in your care. Of course, you'll also need to be kind, caring and dedicated to making a difference to a child.

Other than that, we welcome applications from people from all backgrounds, religions and ethnic groups. You can be gay, straight, bisexual or transgender, single, married or cohabiting. We also support foster parents with disabilities and health conditions, who are able to meet the needs of children in care.

So if you've ever wondered whether you could foster - we can't encourage you enough to take the first step and speak to our friendly team.

Start your journey   Who can foster?

How do you become a foster parent?

The first step is to have a chat with one of our friendly advisors - either complete our online form or give us a call on 0800 369 8512. We'll speak to you about the role, take a few details and answer any of your questions.

When you're ready to progress, there's a standard application and assessment process that you'll need to go through to become an approved foster parent, including home visits, background checks and references, training and attending a fostering panel. You can find out more about each step below.

How to become a foster parent

How long does it take to become a foster parent?

It takes around 4-6 months to become a foster parent. This can often be shorter if you're already fostering and looking to transfer to a different fostering agency.

Fostering stories

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

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