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Who can foster?
Is there an age limit for fostering?
There is no upper age limit for fostering, but you need to be fit enough to care for the children. There is not a defined age at which you can begin fostering but it is important that you have the life experience and maturity to cope with the responsibility.
Do I have to have a childcare qualification?
No, qualifications are not required, we will provide training and support during your application and throughout your fostering journey. However it would be useful if you have experience in looking after or working with children.
Do I have to own my own home to foster?
No, but you do need a stable home for a foster child with no risk of eviction and you must not have rent arrears. As part of the assessment process we will seek references from either your landlord if you rent, or the bank if you have a mortgage.
Am I able to foster if I am working?
This is something that we would asses on an individual basis. Fostering is a demanding role and it is essential that you are able to be flexible around the needs of the children in placement and are also able to attend regular meetings and training courses. Your fostering role should always be seen as a priority over any other work commitments you have, that is why it would be very difficult to balance the demands of the fostering role alongside any other jobs.
Can I foster if I have a criminal conviction?
We are passionate about ensuring that the vulnerable children and young people in our care have a safe and secure home. As such we will carry out police checks (such as DBS in England and Wales and PVG in Scotland) as part of the fostering application process to ensure we know of any convictions.
We will assess each potential foster carer on an individual basis and discuss the impact of any convictions on their ability to become a foster carer. If you have convictions you must mention these when you make your initial enquiry, early disclosure will allow us to advise you better.
Can I foster if I have pets?
Yes, many of our foster carers have pets and they can often help children to relax and settle into a new home. As part of your family, your pets will be part of your fostering assessment. It is important to ensure that they are up to date on their vaccination and they are not likely to pose a threat to any children in your care.
During the placement matching process we will also take pets into consideration, to ensure that children placed with you will be comfortable around your pets.
Can I foster if I smoke?
Smoking will not necessarily prevent you from fostering, however you will not be able to foster children under the age of 5 if you smoke.
The health of the children in your care will always be our priority and if you do smoke it will be a requirement that you do not smoke in your home or in your car.
Do I have to be able to drive?
Being able to drive isn’t essential, as long as you have access to suitable transport that enables you to fulfil the duties required of a foster carer such as getting the child or young person to and from school and appointments. This will also enable you to get to and from training and meetings with your social worker as required.