Becoming a foster parent FAQ: Personal requirements of you

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As a potential foster parent, you may have many questions about fostering children. Here are some of the most frequently asked...

1. How old do you have to be to foster a child? Am I too old to foster?

We have foster parents aged from their mid-20s right through to their 60s – some of our best carers didn’t start fostering until they were in their 50s.

2. Can I foster a child if I smoke?

Yes, so long as you don’t smoke inside your home. Note that some local authorities will not place children under 5 years with carers who smoke.

3. Do I have to be married to be a foster carer?

It doesn’t matter whether you are married, in a relationship, single, straight or gay – as long as you can provide a safe and welcoming home for a young person.

4. Can I foster children if I have a criminal record?

Minor offences you committed some time ago needn’t exclude you from fostering. People move on and we try to take a balanced view of where you are in your life presently.

You cannot foster, however, if you have committed serious offences like violence or crimes against children.

5. I am already fostering, can I transfer somewhere else?

If you are already fostering, you have every right to consider alternatives if you wish to change agency. You should not feel pressured by your current agency to remain with them.

Should you decide to transfer to our agency, we will guide you through the process to ensure it is as smooth as possible for everyone involved.

If there is a child in placement with you, they are the first consideration. The move would be well managed and follow all current guidelines. If there are no children in placement, the process is more straightforward.

If your question wasn't answered here, please contact our friendly team who will be more than happy to help.