One of the most common myths about becoming a foster carer is that you must own your home to be eligible. This isn’t the case – and you can be considered for fostering whether you rent a property or own your home.
What’s most important is that you possess the qualities to provide a safe and loving family home for a child or young person who needs it. From living in a rented house to advertising your spare rooms to lodgers or temporary guests, this guide covers exactly how fostering and renting works.
Yes - you can foster a child in a rented house as long as you meet the criteria for fostering, which includes having enough space for the child and a spare room. It’s likely that some foster children may not have had their own bedroom before, so it’s important that you are able to provide them with a private space where they can play, relax and adjust to their new life. The only instance where sharing a bedroom is accepted is if you’re fostering siblings who are under the age of 10. However, if they are older or specified to need their own bedrooms, the children will need to have separate bedrooms.
Above all else, a stable and supportive environment is key to the wellbeing of the foster child. Before beginning the assessment process, you should seek permission from your private landlord, housing association or council. One of the most important factors to fostering a child is providing consistency – therefore, you should be planning to remain in your current, home, and there should be no rent arrears or risk of eviction.
The fostering assessment process involves a thorough assessment of your home and living environment – which includes establishing if you own any pets, your living situation (whether you are fostering as a single parent, or wanting to continue working) and other elements.
As well as the legal foster care requirements, there are additional considerations that you should think about before deciding that fostering is right for you, including:
If you have multiple spare bedrooms, rent out your home to a tenant or advertise your home on temporary accommodation sites, such as Airbnb, this will all be examined during your fostering assessment.
One of the many advantages of being a foster parent is that it’s an incredibly rewarding career for those ready to invest a great amount of time and energy into a child – however, this means that while you are fostering a child, they should become the main priority. Many children who have been placed in foster care may have had inconsistent or challenging upbringings in their early childhood. As their foster parent, you will be expected to put their wellbeing at the forefront of the decisions you make, including how to use spare bedrooms in the home.
If you have a permanent lodger in your home, they will also be assessed as part of the initial fostering process. This is because they will act as a permanent fixture in the child’s homelife, and their eligibility for being around this child needs to be determined.
Things get more complicated if you advertise a spare room on sites such as Airbnb, and you’re likely to have different people staying in the home over various periods of time. The reason behind this is that each of the people renting out a room in your home would need to be assessed, which would be particularly difficult if you’re wanting to advertise this as a listing for temporary accommodation. The fact is that children in the care system need a sense of routine and stability in order to move forward with their lives, and this would be put at risk by renting out a spare bedroom on a temporary basis – so this is likely to affect your ability to foster.
Looking for more information on fostering and renting, or about what happens to a child when they are taken into care? Get in touch with a member of our friendly team today. Here at FosterCare UK, we’re on hand to provide the fostering support and advice regarding fostering as a career you need, while also answering any other questions you may have.
If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.