Can I foster if…?

Are you considering becoming a foster carer? Here at FosterCare UK, we know that coming to this decision requires answers to many questions, often around ‘can I foster if…?’ Typically, these questions revolve around who you are as a person, your financial or living status, where you live and your health. However, there’s often common misconceptions on whether you can foster based on these criteria.

That’s why we’ve put together this fostering FAQs section which details the most commonly asked questions. However, if your specific query is not listed in the FAQs below, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our friendly team.

Fostering FAQs

Primary fostering requirements

Can I foster if I’m not a British citizen?

Being a British citizen is not a requirement of becoming a foster carer – however, most fostering agencies would expect you to be a full-time resident living in the UK. In the UK for a limited time, but still keen to foster? Our team of experts here at FosterCare UK can provide you with the information you need. Get in touch with our team now.

Can I foster if I’m too old or too young?

Fostering with FosterCare UK requires you to be at least 21 years of age – however, there is no upper age limit on becoming a foster carer. As long as you are fit and healthy, and able to look after younger children, then there’s no reason why older age should prevent you from being able to foster.

Can I foster if my house is too small?

The size of your house will not necessarily be a determining factor in your ability foster. However, in order to foster, you will need to have a spare room  – as this is one of the primary foster care requirements. It’s also important to note that whether or not you own your property will also not be a quality that would determine your eligibility to foster – however, financial stability will need to be demonstrated if you are renting a property.

Career and experience

Can I foster if I have no experience working with children?

In order to become a foster carer, you will need to have some degree of experience with children. However, it’s important to note that this does not need to come from your own children – so if you do not have your own children, you can gain experience with children elsewhere. This could be through your profession, for example, or volunteer work.

Can I foster and work?

Fostering is classed as a full-time job. That means, as a foster parent, it’s common to make this line of work your only career. However, there are multiple circumstances where you can continue to work while fostering –for example, this could be if you are fostering together as a couple. In this instance, one person can stay home to look after the foster children while the other continues to work. Learn more about if you can work and foster from our detailed guide.

Can I foster if I am on benefits?

Yes – you can foster if you are receiving benefits. You will receive fostering payments for taking care of a child, and these payments are generally disregarded as income when calculating welfare benefits, or only taxable income from your fostering payments is regarded as income. In which case, there is a generous tax scheme in place, meaning that the taxable income for many foster carers’ is zero.

Who I am

Can I foster with a criminal record?

Having a criminal record does not necessarily disqualify you from being able to foster. However, your ability to foster is completely dependent on the circumstances of the offence. Other factors such as how long ago it took place and the type of offence will be considered too. Read our guide on ‘Can you foster with a criminal record?’ to find out more information on fostering with a criminal record.

Can I foster if I’m gay?

Yes, you can foster if you are gay. Your sexual orientation will not affect your ability to foster – that is the same for if you are gay, straight, bisexual or other. Becoming a foster carer requires a specific set of personality traits, however, sexual orientation is not one of those fostering requirements.

Can I foster as a single parent?

Yes, you can foster as a single parent. However, it’s important to note that fostering as a single parent may take a little extra energy – as you’re likely to not have the support from a partner, but it’s definitely possible to foster as a single parent. Learn more about single parent fostering from our detailed guide.

Can I foster if I have pets?

Yes – you can foster if you have pets. Having pets in your home does not prevent you from being able to foster. However, there are some guidelines and rules that you’ll need to adhere to – this includes ensuring that your pets are healthy and well cared for, the gardens are kept clean and pets are kept under control.

Can I foster if I have medical or health problems?

Health problems will not necessarily prevent you from fostering – for example, if you have a chronic illness or disability. However, your health problem will have to be taken into consideration during your fostering application process, and when fostering placements are determined. The success of your fostering application will be determined based on the nature of the medical condition or disability. However, it’s important to note that if the disability or illness prevents you from being able to take care of children, this may affect your ability to foster.

Can I foster if I can’t drive?

As a foster carer, it’s important to be able to meet the needs of young people in care, as this is the priority goal of being a foster carer. This may involve dropping them off at school or after-school activities, to or from appointments or meeting up with the birth family. If you are looking to foster but you cannot drive, you will need to demonstrate you have access to good public transport links.

For more information on whether you can foster, or if your query hasn’t been answered by the above, get in touch with a member of our friendly team here at FosterCare UK. Alternatively, brush up your knowledge on the fostering requirements and our fostering recruitment process.

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