Common myths about fostering
If your circumstances are not covered below, please contact us.
"I can't foster" because:
Many of our foster carers have their own children and foster at the same time. It can be rewarding and beneficial for your own children, as well as those that you foster.
We offer support to your own children including fun groups where they can meet other foster carers’ children and take part in regular activities and events.
Beth’s parents became foster carers when she was 17. She shares some advice on how to involve your children in fostering from the very beginning of the application process.
Watch Beth's story:
Whilst having experience of caring for children is preferable, you do not need to have your own children to be able to demonstrate this.
You may have other experiences of working with, or looking after children or young people. An understanding of child development could also be a benefit.
If you are looking at ways to increase your experience, volunteering can be a good way to do this. There are many opportunities available in our local communities.
Many foster carers combine their care responsibilities with their work so this might be possible. You need to be sure you can dedicate enough time to supporting children in your care.
Foster carers need to be available to attend meetings, training and support groups and you may be able to achieve this through flexible working.
You can ask your employer if they are 'fostering friendly'.
There is no upper age limit to becoming a foster carer. Everyone has different life experiences and this can be really helpful when caring for children.
As long as you have time for a child, are in good health and have the skills and energy to look after children, we would like to talk to you.
As long as you can provide a safe and nurturing home for a foster child, you can foster. You don't have to be in a couple.
It is important to have a strong support network around you, such as family and friends. We will provide you with support too.
We welcome anyone from the LGBTQ+ community. Our children need a variety of foster families, so if you can offer a safe and nurturing home for a child or young person, please get in touch.
Many foster carers live in rented accommodation. You will need to discuss this with your landlord and get their consent to foster. This will ensure you have stability to care for a child.
We are happy to have these discussions with you.
Anyone who applies to become a foster carer undergoes a full medical check to ensure they are in good health.
Some children in foster care won’t have English as their first language. Being placed with a family who share the same first language can be very beneficial.
You will, however, need a good level of spoken and written English to communicate with other professionals. This is to enable you to support the child’s education and keep records.
We would be happy to discuss any communication needs with you. There are also courses available which you may wish to consider.
Pets can be a really great asset to a foster family. However, they will need to be assessed as part of the process, just like everyone else living in your home.
We would be interested to know what pets you have.
It is important that we consider children’s religious and faith needs alongside our foster carers' religious and faith needs. This means we welcome people from all backgrounds to support our children.
We understand your faith is important to you and would be happy to discuss this further.
People with criminal convictions or cautions can foster. However, it does depend on the seriousness of the offence, how long ago it took place, and how you have lived your life since.
You will not be able to foster if you have certain convictions or offences against children.
We can discuss this issue in confidence.
If you or someone in your family are serving in the military, you can still become a foster carer.
There are lots of different types of fostering that may suit your circumstances.
We would be happy to chat this through with you.
Smoking or vaping does not prevent you from fostering with us. However, we cannot place children aged 0-5 years old with someone who smokes or vapes.
Living in a smoking household does present an increased health risk, so we would encourage you to stop smoking with help and support.
We would also be happy to share our smoking policy and discuss this with you.
There are many similarities between the different types of fostering, but there are some differences as well.
All carers receive the same high level of support, training and supervision. There is an expectation that all foster carers engage with the fostering service and keep records of how the time goes with the child or young person in their care. During your exploration of fostering and your assessment we will explore what type of fostering suits you.
Mainstream foster care includes:
- Planned breaks
- Short term
- Long term
- Emergency duty
- Unaccompanied asylum seeking children
- Parent and child
Fostering to adopt is where children are fostered through the court process, offering stability and the possibility for the foster carers to adopt if the situation allows.
Home from home is where the same child comes for a short period each month and often a lifelong relationship is formed between the carers and family members.
Many of our foster carers have been approved with no direct experience in these areas. This is not a requirement because we offer comprehensive training offer to ensure our carers are given the opportunity to grow their skills. There is mandatory training to support your growth and many opportunities to specialise based on your fostering preferences.
Driving is not a mandatory requirement to foster, certainly for those that live in areas with good public transport networks. There are a number of meetings and responsibilities involved in caring for children, so let's talk about about the sort of fostering you would like to do and how this could work.
All enquiries are considered on an individual basis. As long as your health concerns are not life threatening and our medical advisor considers that they will not impact on your capacity to be an effective foster carer, then we will be happy to consider your application.
Children can need our service from 0 to 18 years old. They will each have their own life stories, which could include disabilities, developmental delays or trauma.
The type of child you are matched with depends very much on you, your skill and where your confidence lies. Much of the assessment process is getting to know you and your family, so good matches can be made for your family and the child’s.
No two applications or assessments are exactly the same, but generally assessments take up to six months. This allows potential foster carers the time to thoroughly consider all aspects of becoming a foster carer and what this will bring to their lives. Read the fostering journey for more details.
If required, children are allocated occupational therapists, who are based in the disabled children’s team.
If you want to be considered for a child with a physical disability, but have concerns about your home, the child’s occupational therapist will visit your home and carry out an assessment. This will help determine if alterations and/or specialist equipment can be considered and offered.
Contact the team to tell us you're interested. It's just a chat to start with.