Common myths about fostering
The following information should help to clarify some of the myths surrounding fostering.
I already have children at home so I can’t foster
Many of our foster carers have their own children living with them and foster at the same time. This can be really rewarding and beneficial for your own children, as well as the foster children.
I don’t have my own children so I can’t foster
Although many foster carers do have their own children, this isn’t a requirement of becoming a foster carer. As long as you have other experience, such as working with young people or providing care to children by babysitting or just spending time with children, and the time to look after a child, we’d love to hear from you.
I work full-time so I can’t foster
Lots of foster carers combine their care responsibilities with their work so this might be possible, as long as you can dedicate enough time to supporting the child. Many carers who work full time start out providing respite care at weekends for our foster carers to have a break.
I’m a bit older so I can’t foster
There’s no upper age limit to who can become a foster carer. As long as you’re in good health and have the skills and energy to look after children, then we’d love to hear from you.
I’m single so I can’t foster
Your relationship status doesn’t matter, as long as you can provide a warm and nurturing home for a foster child we’d be delighted to hear from you.
I’m in a same-sex relationship so I can’t foster
Our children need a variety of families who can care for children; if you can offer a safe, warm and nurturing environment for a child or young person, we’d be delighted to hear from you.
I don’t own my own home so I can’t foster
Many foster carers live in rented accommodation, you just need to obtain the landlord’s consent which is not usually an issue.
I have a long-term health condition so I can’t foster
This isn’t an automatic barrier, but anyone who applies to become a foster carer will need to undergo a full medical examination which our Medical Advisor will consider and advise on whether you’re able to be considered as a foster carer. Our fostering team would be happy to chat you more about this.
English is not my first language so I can’t foster
Some children in foster care won’t have English as their first language, so being placed with a family who share the same first language can be very beneficial. Having said that, please bear in mind that you’ll need a good level of spoken and written English to communicate with other professionals, support the child’s education and keep records. Our fostering team would be happy to discuss any thoughts or communication needs with you.
I don’t have the right qualifications to become a foster carer
You don’t need loads of qualifications to become a foster carer. What’s important are your skills, experience and a commitment to developing your knowledge. We have a strong training programme for our approved foster carers.
I have pets at home so I can’t foster
Having pets doesn’t prevent you from fostering, they can often be an asset to a foster family. However, just bear in mind that they’ll need to be assessed as part of the process.
My religious views mean I can’t foster
We understand that for many people their faith is important and this would be covered during the home study full assessment following your attendance at our Skills to Foster Preparation Course.
I have a criminal conviction so I can’t foster
People with criminal convictions or cautions can foster, although much depends on the seriousness of the offence, how long ago it was, and how you have lived your life since. You will not be able to foster if you have certain convictions or offences against children. Please contact us to discuss the issue in confidence.
I’m serving in the military so I can’t foster
Just because you or someone in your family are serving in the military, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t become a foster carer. However, if you’re likely to be posted overseas then we’d only be able to consider you as respite foster carers. Military families based in the UK are welcome to apply to be foster carers.
I smoke so I can’t foster
Smoking does not prevent you from offering foster care with us; however we cannot place children under six years old with someone who smokes. Given that living in a smoking household does present an increased health risk, we would encourage you to give up and can provide support to help.
The following document will provide further information about becoming a foster carer:
- Fostering brochure (PDF)