Fostering is a big commitment and you probably have many questions. Here are some of the most common questions we’ve come across, with answers of course!
Do I need a spare bedroom to foster?

Yes, you must have a spare bedroom to apply as a foster carer.

Can children share a bedroom?

Your own children can share a bedroom, but children in foster care cannot share a room with the foster carers’ own children.  Foster siblings can share with each other depending on age and gender, but they may need their own bedrooms in future depending on how long the placement is needed.

Can I be a foster carer if I rent my property?

Yes, you can be a foster carer if you rent your own home or if you are a homeowner.  If you rent, you will need permission from your landlord or landlady.

Can I foster as a single person?

Yes, it doesn’t matter whether you are single, married, divorced or co-habiting.  Providing you have a spare bedroom, you could foster as a single person.

I have pets, can I still foster?

Yes, many foster carers have dogs, cats and all manner of household pets.  Every animal is different, and all your household pets will be assessed as part of the application process.

Is there a maximum age for foster carers? Am I too old?

There is no maximum age for foster carers, but you should be physically and emotionally healthy enough to meet the demands of caring for a child.  

Can I keep working and still foster?

We usually expect at least one foster carer to be available full-time for the role.  If applying as a single person, consider how you will be able to take the child to/from school and other appointments, as well as attend training.  Providing you can meet these requirements, you can work and still be a foster carer.

Can I foster if I’ve taken anti-depressants?

Depression or a history of mental ill health will not necessarily stop you from fostering.  What is most important is what you can offer a young person.  All applicants must evidence a good standard of physical and mental health during the assessment process.

Can I foster if I smoke?

As a smoker or vaper, you cannot foster children under the age of 5 with Family Care. 

Can I foster if I don’t have a car?

The short answer is yes, but it might be difficult.  Young people in foster care often attend many more meetings and appointments than other children, and you will be responsible for transporting to/from these meetings.  You must also attend training at our offices.

I have a criminal conviction. Will this stop me from fostering?

Having a criminal conviction doesn’t automatically prevent you from fostering.  A lot will depend on the nature of the offence and when it occurred, but you must declare this during the initial stages of your enquiry.  An enhanced DBS check is undertaken as part of all fostering assessments in the UK.

Can I foster if I have debt or have previously been made bankrupt?

Yes, but you must demonstrate your ability to manage your finances.  Fostering allowances are only paid when you have a child in placement, so it’s important you demonstrate that you can manage your finances without relying on a fostering allowance.

How long does the process take to become a foster carer?

The process usually takes 4-6 months depending on your availability to complete the assessment.

What training is there? Who needs to attend training?

Family Care provide a full training programme for the calendar year.  All applicants must complete preparation training, and all approved foster carers in the home must complete mandatory training.

How is your training delivered?

Training can be delivered at our fostering offices in Preston and Stafford, or at more locally based venues depending on the course.  A full calendar of training events is sent to foster carers in advance.  Travel expenses to/from training are covered at 25p a mile.

How much do foster carers get paid?

Our foster carers receive between £380 – £750 per week for one child.  The amount depends on the type of fostering being provided and the needs of the young person.  Payments of up to £750 are for specialist foster care such as caring for children with complex disabilities, or parent & child fostering.  Payments are made on a 4-weekly basis.

Table showing the fostering allowance payments by age category

Will fostering affect my tax or national insurance payments?

Foster carers are classed as self-employed and must return their own tax forms.  Foster carers benefit from a fixed tax exemption and receive tax relief for every week a child is in the home.  For more information visit the gov.uk website.

Will fostering affect my welfare benefits?

Fostering should not affect the benefits you receive if they come from a local council, a voluntary organisation or a private organisation.  If you currently claim benefits, we recommend you speak with an advisor for more details.

How long will it be before my first placement?

This depends on the referrals in your area, your skills and experience, and your flexibility.  It is uncommon for our newly approved carers to wait more than 2-months for their first placement.

Can I choose which child I foster?

Yes, you are the one who decides to open your home to a foster child.  We will discuss matching preferences when you become approved, and we will look for a match that fits with you and your family.

Will I get to meet the child before the placement starts?

We always try to arrange for you to meet the young person before the placement starts.  However, this isn’t always possible, especially in emergency situations.  Also, consider how meeting several sets of foster parents would feel for a young person.  For most placements, discussions will take place over the phone or with local authority professionals.

How long will a child need to live with me?

This varies depending on the needs of the young person.  If you can only support a child for a fixed period, then we’ll have to make that clear in any offers to the local authority.

What support will I receive?

Your supervising social worker will meet with you regularly for updates and to check how you’re doing.  You’ll also be supported by our support services team and our in-house therapy team, as well as your fellow foster carers.  For out-of-hours emergencies you will have 24/7 phone support.

What if I need respite?

If you need respite, speak to your supervising social worker and we will try to arrange this.  It’s important you make us aware of any respite requirements in advance.  We usually like to arrange respite internally.

Will I have to take foster children on holidays? Do I get extra allowances for this? 

We expect children in your care to be treated the same as your own birth children.  Part of your weekly fostering allowance is for ‘Activities & Holidays’.

What if a placement needs to end?

If things aren’t working out and we’ve tried everything we can, it may be that we have to end the placement.  For most placements there will be a 28-day ‘notice period’, which allows the local authority to look for another home for the young person.

What is the difference between fostering and adoption?

Adoption is looking after very young children (usually under 3) and adopters become the child’s legal parent.  Fostering involves looking after children of all ages, but the local authority remains the legal parent for the child.  Check out our article on the difference between fostering and adoption

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Enquiry Submitted

Thank you for your enquiry about fostering with Family Care! 

Our fostering team will be in touch soon with more information.  No question is a silly question so please be sure to ask us anything!

Phone: 0800 5 677677
Email: foster@family-care.co.uk 

Application Submitted

Thank you for your interest in this role, your application has been received by our HR team and is being reviewed.  

We endeavor to reply to all candidates, but if you have not heard back from us within 5-working days, unfortunately you have been unsuccessful on this occasion.

109 children come into care every day in the UK...