Frequently asked questions and myths about fostering.
Over the years we have spoken to many people who have thought about becoming a foster carer and have lots of the skills that we value, such as compassion and patience, but they have been put off because they don’t think they will meet the criteria for one reason or another.
We have pulled together some of our frequently asked questions and myths that we regularly hear and you might be surprised to find out which are true and which are not!
Yes, having your own children can prepare you with some of the skills you need to foster, however any experience you have in childcare will be explored as part of an initial visit or assessment. This experience may be caring for close family members, friend’s children, volunteering or similar.
You do get a generous weekly allowance when you are a foster carer, which includes an extra payment once you are accredited. Our specialist and advanced foster carers receive fees as well as payments and allowances.
We hope that the ultimate reward of fostering is the difference you will make and the bond developed between a foster carer and a child, however rest assured we do offer many benefits to ensure you, your foster child and your family are fully supported and can enjoy your time together.
Of course! Pets are part of the family, and you can absolutely foster if you have animals. There are a few notable exceptions such as a few breeds of dog on the dangerous dogs list and any pet in the household would be subject to a risk assessment along the way. We do however know that many of our young people find the presence of a pet to be therapeutic and often bond well with animals.
When going through the process to become a foster carer you will be required to undertake a medical check through your doctor. They will then advise if your disability is going to affect how you could care for a child and give them a safe and positive environment to live in. If you are able to meet the everyday needs of children or young people within your home, then your disability should not stand in your way of becoming a foster carer.
We know that mental ill health can be a sensitive subject which can be difficult to discuss. However if your condition is being managed well and you feel you would be able to cope with the potential demands of being a foster carer then we would love to hear from you.
It is important to be clear and speak openly about your mental health from as early as possible during the process and you will need to understand that the reasons for your mental ill-health will be explored during your fostering assessment.
Many young people in our care have suffered some kind of significant trauma and it is possible that you may have had experiences that could give you the insight to support them.
Yes, it is entirely possible to work and be a foster carer, although perhaps not if you are employed full-time.
Training, meetings and possibly ongoing contact with a child’s birth family could take a significant portion of your time. Juggling this along with full-time employment would likely be too difficult to manage.
You can foster whatever your ethnic, religious (or non-religious) or cultural background.
Our foster carers come from many walks of life and different backgrounds, reflecting the children and young people in our care.
Any issues or questions around citizenship, residence, or immigration (including right to remain and settled status) should be raised at the earliest opportunity, so that these can be considered in the context of you being able to meet the needs of a child and offer them stability.
We will carry out enhanced criminal background checks for everyone over the age of 18 years living in your household, along with background checks and collecting references.
You cannot foster if you or others in your household have convictions for certain specified offences, including offences against children.
Your relationship status does not change your ability to become a foster carer. We are happy to hear from those who are single, in a relationship, divorced, separated and even if you have a partner but you do not live together in the same home.
To start the process of becoming a foster carer we do have some requirements you will need to meet.
You may be able to foster with us if:
- you either own your home or rent
- you meet our minimum age requirements – usually 21 years. In exceptional circumstances, for example with some family and friends carers, this may be reduced to 18 years. There is no specific upper age limit
- you are fit and able to care for a child - a medical assessment will be needed to consider this
- you are residing in the UK for the foreseeable future in order to be able to meet the needs of a child and offer them stability