There are lots of vulnerable children in the care system who need a place to stay whilst more permanent arrangements can be made for them and foster carers provide them with a safe home for however long they may need it. It goes without saying that becoming a foster carer is incredibly rewarding and it provides you with the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of so many children and young people.
If you’re interested in applying to foster, but you’re not sure whether you meet the basic criteria, you might be surprised to hear that almost anyone can become a foster carer here in the UK. To provide you with more of an insight into who can foster a child in the UK, below we have looked into the requirements for fostering in more detail.
What are the requirements for fostering in the UK?
To become a foster carer in the UK, there are a few basic criteria to meet and you must be:
- A full-time UK resident or have the right to remain in the country
- At least 21 years old
- Able to provide care to a child or young person
You will need to have a spare bedroom in your home too, however, it is worth noting that you don’t necessarily need to own your home and you can be a foster carer if you live in a rented property.
Although these are the only ‘criteria’, other factors will be taken into consideration when you apply to be a foster carer, like your health. So, for example, whilst there isn’t an upper age limit to be a foster carer, things such as your physical abilities will be considered.
So, who can foster a child in the UK?
When applying to foster children or young people, one of the most important things is what kind of person you are. Throughout a foster assessment, you won’t be judged on your gender, marital status or sexual orientation and ultimately, you just need to be a patient, kind and committed individual to be a primary carer for children and young people in the care system.
Many don’t realise that you can still foster whether you’re part of the LGBT community, single and living alone or a biological parent and you can even potentially become a foster carer if you have pets at home too. Lots of successful foster carers don’t necessarily fit the stereotypes of foster parents and they still provide outstanding levels of care and support to the children that stay with them over the years.
During your foster assessment, in addition to taking into consideration your personality and qualities, a fostering agency will require practical information about your circumstances and detailed information about you and your family. You can usually expect your assigned assessing social worker to ask you questions about;
- The property you live in
- The other people who live with you
- The pets you have at home
- Your general level of health
- Your employment status
- Your financial situation
- Your current and past relationships
- Your hobbies and interests
- Your relevant skills
- Your support network
All of the questions they ask are designed to assess your suitability for the role and the information gained will be used to decide whether fostering is right for you. It’s important to remember that the fostering assessment takes place to ensure you can provide appropriate care to a foster child and fostering agencies always have the childrens’ best interests at heart.
Becoming a foster carer
Hopefully, you will now know a little bit more about who can foster a child in the UK and there is no denying that foster carers really do come from all backgrounds and walks of life. If you would like to become a foster carer, it is likely that you will meet the criteria to go ahead with a fostering application and there really are a number of benefits to doing so. This is one chapter in your life that you won’t regret starting.
Should you wish to have an informal chat about becoming a foster carer, feel free to call our team at Fostering UK today. We’re more than happy to answer any additional questions that you may have about the fostering journey and you can trust that we will be completely honest with you about what the fostering service entails. If you’re interested in applying to become a foster carer, this is something that we can assist you with too and you can learn more about the fostering assessment process over on our website. We look forward to hearing from you.