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Can I foster if..? – busting the myths about who can foster

There are many reasons why people think they won’t be suitable to foster a child and lots of the time these reasons are actually just myths.  Do you want to be a foster carer but have something on your mind that is stopping you from applying? Maybe you think you won’t be allowed to foster because you are single or because you have children of your own. Whatever it is that is stopping you from pursuing a career in fostering, we are trying to sort out the facts from the myths in this post and we hope it helps to answer your questions. Can I foster if…well, let’s find out.

Can I foster if..? – busting the myths about who can foster.

Can I foster if I have a criminal record? – We understand people make mistakes and their lives evolve and move on, so we take each application as it comes and risk assess each situation individually. There are some offences which would prohibit you from becoming a foster carer and you would be advised of this accordingly at the point of enquiry. It is a requirement that everyone who applies to foster is subject to an enhanced DBS check.

Can I foster if I am a single man/can I foster if I am a single woman? – Yes, you do not have to be in a relationship to foster. We require all applicants to be in a secure and stable position in their lives, whether they are single applicants or in a couple. We can offer further advice at the point of enquiry.

Can I foster if I have never worked with children? – It is not necessary to have been employed in the childcare sector to pursue a career in fostering. However, we do prefer applicants to have had some experience of working with children and young people. Things like volunteering at a youth club, babysitting or unpaid work experience in the childcare sector can all provide a person with transferable skills and attributes for fostering. Therefore, you can foster if you have never worked with children but it would be helpful if you could share examples, like those previously mentioned, of times you have been involved in caring for children in the present or the past

dad and child on beach foster dad

Can I foster if I have my own children? – Yes, absolutely. Looking after a foster child can be challenging and sometimes requires different parenting techniques to those you may use when raising your own children but you will still be putting lots of your existing parenting skills to work and will already have a good base knowledge of child development and how to raise a child. The biological children of a foster carer can become like siblings to your foster child and vice versa and they can help each other to learn and develop.

Can I foster if I am over 60? – The minimum age for a foster carer in the UK is 21. However, there is no maximum age where we stop taking enquiries and applications for fostering. Age should not be a reason that someone decides not to become a foster carer. When we assess our potential foster carers we take everything into consideration but we do not discriminate. For example, if you are 60 plus but are fit and healthy enough to look after a child and have other characteristics and skills we look for in a foster carer then there is no reason why you won’t be considered. We welcome people of all ages to when they have the passion and drive to change a child’s life for the better.

Can I foster if I have a disability? – Yes, absolutely. A function of the assessment process is to match foster families with children requiring foster placements. We welcome enquiries and applications from people who have a disability.

Can I foster if I don’t drive? – It is an advantage if applicants drive and have access to a vehicle but not essential. It is important if you don’t drive, that the area has good public transport links to help a child get to school, take part in clubs and activities, see their birth families and access leisure opportunities for example. There is also an expectation that foster carers can take children to various appointments, attend meetings and training.

Can I foster if I am gay? – If you are part of the LGBT community you can apply to be a foster carer. At Focus Foster Care we strive to find people who are in a secure position in their lives with a genuine motivation to help and support children to join our team of foster carers. We encourage people from all backgrounds and sexualities to enquire and apply to foster with us.

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Can I foster if I am religious? – Yes. Part of the function of a fostering assessment is to help us to match potential foster carers with children needing placements. Where possible, we seek to match children and foster carers who share the same ethnicity, culture or religion. Where this is not possible, it is important there is an acceptance of difference and diversity and that the religious needs of children are respected and met, including for example, if they do not follow a religion themselves.

Can I foster alongside having another job? – It is possible to be a foster carer and fulfil another job role at the same time. However, we need foster carers who can make caring for a child their priority. Foster carers do need to have the flexibility and time within their existing routines and lifestyle, to give a child the attention, care and support they need and be available if they cannot attend school and during the school holidays. Some children only need foster care on a respite or short break basis and in these instances, it would be easier for someone to balance their fostering responsibilities alongside another job role.

Can I foster if I don’t own my house? Yes. It is not necessary to own your own home as long as your housing position is secure, so children don’t experience any unnecessary disruption and instability once they are in foster care. It is an essential requirement that your home offers a spare bedroom and the physical environment is safe, suitable and meets the required standards. We can give further advice and guidance about this at point of enquiry or if we pop out to see you to get a feel for the space you have to offer.

We hope this post has helped to answer your questions about who can foster and who can’t. If you are still thinking ‘can I foster if..’ please get in touch with us via our contact page and we will happily answer your questions.

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