Questions about your eligibility to foster

Some frequently asked questions

Yes, we encourage single individuals to apply for fostering. Contrary to a common misconception, being married or in a relationship is not a requirement for fostering. However, if you are in a relationship, it's vital that both partners are fully committed to the role. For couples, it's necessary to be in a stable relationship. It's worth noting that if you begin fostering as a couple and the relationship ends later on, we would work with you to plan the best way forward.

Yes, your sexual orientation and gender identity do not affect your eligibility to foster. We encourage applications from individuals of all orientations and genders who feel they can make a positive difference in the lives of children and young people.

Yes, we value the experience potential foster carers who are parents bring to fostering. But you don't need to have experience of being a parent to apply to be a foster carer.

Our foster carers tell us that being a fostering family enriches the lives of their own children as well as those who stay with them. The application process places the needs of all children at its centre. As part of the process, we will consider how you will continue to meet the needs of any children already living with you and those who you'd welcome into your home. We'll work with you to explore arrangements and needs to assess how different types of fostering might be a fit for your family and circumstances.

Not necessarily. We assess each case individually and the only criminal convictions that prevent you fostering by law are those that relate to offences against children or other sexual offences. The most important thing is that you are honest with us from the start about any convictions you may have.

Yes. We look to place children into the care of people from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Yes, every member of your household will be involved in the fostering assessment process. We speak with all adults and children living in your home to find out how fostering would integrate into your family life. Having your own children alongside a foster child provides a meaningful experience of family life for the children placed with you.

Your children may need to adjust to sharing their parents with those entering the home, and they may have questions or concerns. Our assessing social worker will consider all children's emotions and needs as an integral part of the fostering assessment.

You don't have to be a driver to be a foster carer, but being a driver can really help for the day to day activities of fostering. Where possible the children and young people staying with you will usually be from your local area, but you will need to consider how school age children will get to school, which may be a few miles away.

You will also be responsible for transporting any babies, children or young people in your care to any medical or other appointments. You may also need to help facilitate visits with a child's family.

We do recognise the value of using public transport, and this may of course be considered as a viable option.

Physical or mental health issues will not necessarily prevent you from becoming a foster carer. What is important is that you are fit and emotionally healthy enough to provide stable care and support for a child or young person. Each prospective foster carer must have a medical assessment with their GP. The report will be used by our medical advisor to assess whether any on-going health issues may impact on your capacity to care for a child or cause a deterioration in your health. If you have any preliminary questions about health conditions, please do get in touch with us.

Yes, you can although they will also be assessed as part of your assessment process. A family pet can be a real asset in a fostering household. Any pets who live with you will be assessed as part of your application. We need to check that any pet dog is not a dangerous breed. Every animal is different. The temperament and behaviour of your pet(s) will be assessed along with their habits and routines. The aim is to identify any factors that could be risky to a child or the pet but having a pet doesn't ordinarily exclude you from fostering.

It's a myth that smokers can't become foster carers. However, it's worth noting that babies and children aged under five aren't placed in smoking/vaping households. We will always encourage smokers/vapers to give up and attend a stop smoking course. Smoking/vaping should never happen inside the home, so if you continue to smoke/vape, you will need to commit to smoking/vaping outside.