If you're thinking about fostering, we know you'll have lots of questions. Below are answers to some of the most common questions. However, if yours isn't answered here, please get in touch. You may also find it useful to read through information about our fostering assessment process.
Can I still foster if I work?
It is our preference that children under five are cared for by someone at home full time.
If you work and are considering fostering you will need to ensure that your employer is flexible to enable you to attend meetings, arrange contact with the birth family or be at home to care for the children if they are sick or suspended from school. If you can only provide short, regular periods of care such as weekends and school holidays, you might be able to become a support carer.
If I'm unemployed, does that rule me out as a foster carer?
No. Children benefit from having someone to care for them full-time and as a foster carer you will receive fostering allowances and other payments to cover the cost of caring for a child or young person.
Do I have to own my own home?
No. You can foster if you rent or live in council or housing association accommodation.
Does a foster child need their own bedroom?
The national minimum standards require the fostering service to make available foster homes which provide adequate space to a suitable standard.Our expectation is that foster children over the age of three will have their own bedroom. You can foster if you rent or live in council or housing association accommodation.
I have a criminal conviction. Does this mean I am automatically barred from being a foster carer?
It would depend on the offence you have committed. Certain convictions or offences including violence and crimes against children would rule you out. We are looking for carers who will have an open and honest relationship, therefore, it is important to tell us if you have a police record or health concerns, so we are aware of them from the outset and can advise you of your suitability.
I am a disabled person - can I foster?
Yes. People with disabilities do become foster carers and make a valuable contribution to fostering. As part of the approval process for all foster carers, your GP will need to verify that you are physically able to look after children and not putting your own health at risk.
I smoke. Can I still foster?
Our current policy is that we do not place children under 5 or vulnerable children who have respiratory, heart or other medical conditions in homes where there is a smoker. It is our expectation that a person has been smoke-free for at least a year before we will consider an application from them to foster under-5s. In addition to this, we have specific guidelines which outline the practical steps that can be taken to minimise children’s exposure to tobacco smoke which we expect foster carers to abide by.
I have no children of my own - can I foster?
Yes. We are looking for people who like and have a genuine interest in caring for children and young people. There is an expectation that you will have had some experience of caring for or working with other people's children.