Questions about foster carer homes

Some frequently asked questions

No. You don't have to be a homeowner to be a foster carer. The home where a child or young person will come to stay with you can be rented or owned (with or without a mortgage).

You may not require a spare bedroom for babies but older children and young people in foster care need a space to call their own. To become a foster carer of older children you will need a spare bedroom. Sometimes it may be agreed that it is in the best interests of a child to share a bedroom with a sibling.

Adults and unrelated children must never share a bedroom, the exception to this is babies who may sleep in a cot in your room up until the age of 2 but must never bedshare.

Your home needs be able to comfortably accommodate a child or young person.  It should be safe, clean and tidy and this will be discussed during your initial visit.

When a child comes to live with you, they're likely to feel nervous and potentially scared too so preparing your home can help a child or teenager to feel welcome.

In the child's room you may want to leave a few new things such as a small toy, book or new pyjamas but it's usually a good idea to keep decor neutral. This way, you can personalise the space as you learn about the things they like and settle in.

As with any home with children, you'll need to consider health and safety in the home, which may mean making some small changes and taking extra steps. If you are looking after a child with a disability or who has individual needs your social worker will discuss any potential adjustments with you prior to the child moving in.

You will cover making your home safe for fostering in your assessment.

Some examples of safety precautions include:

  • ensuring you have working window locks
  • testing carbon monoxide and smoke alarms
  • yearly boiler service
  • lockable cabinet for tablets and medicines