Can I foster?

Can I foster? It’s a common question people have when they are considering how to foster a child. We’ve put together some FAQs about fostering to help you.

Can I foster? Find out more

If your question isn’t listed below or you want to talk to us further, you can give us a call or email hello@capstonefostercare.co.uk for some free advice. We know fostering is a big decision to make, so talking about it and finding the right agency for you is really important.

What our carers say

“I’d thought about fostering for over three years before it was the right time to call Capstone. I have a dog and thought, can I foster if I have a dog? I am also over 50, so I thought I may be too old to foster. I was also confused about whether or not I could carry on working if I foster as there is so much conflicting information on the internet. What I found is that I didn’t just have one question, I had many. So I gave Capstone a call. It was the best decision I’ve made, as they tailored their advice to my circumstances. I’ve now been fostering for 8 months and I have a 9 year old boy who I look after. I’d encourage anyone who is wondering ‘can I foster’ to call Capstone and find out if you can foster too.”

Ian, Somerset

Questions about me

Fostering is challenging in many different ways. We know things might become difficult but you will be part of our family and you will never be expected to cope on your own.

Your supervising social worker is primarily responsible for supporting you. You will also have access to a social worker who is available out of hours 24/7 to ensure you have support round the clock for any emergency situations.

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We welcome single carers. There are some children who come into care who will benefit from being given the focused attention that a single carer is able to provide. All foster placements are made with careful consideration for matching the carer to the young person.

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Many people wonder if they are either too old to look after a foster child or too young. It all depends on whether or not you can meet the needs of a child or young person who requires your support.

The Fostering Regulations state that the minimum age for a foster carer is 21. To foster with Capstone if you are under 25 you must be exceptional. Older people need to be mindful that there is a medical (done by their GP) which is completed as part of the assessment.

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From the moment you pick up the phone to enquire, the process of becoming a foster carer can take between four and six months.

Once you have completed an application form the assessment process will begin. An assessment is completed because we need to ensure that vulnerable young people placed in foster care are safe.

We also need to ensure that our foster carers are well equipped and feeling confident before taking a placement. For that reason, the length of time for an assessment can vary. An assessment is unlikely to be completed in less than three months.

In everything we do the wellbeing and safety of the child is most important. That’s why we ensure that our foster carers are ready, equipped and confident about looking after the child we place with them.

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Yes. We pay carers a weekly allowance when they have a foster child with them. Click here to find out more about an allowance.

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We know that fostering can be a challenging job and you are expected to have a professional level of motivation and commitment.

We generally require that one carer is either at home full time or that their work is flexible enough to allow them to provide the high standard of care that is appropriate to match the needs of the child.

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We will support you each step of the way towards becoming the best foster carer you can be. To do this we offer expert training, both before and during your time as a foster carer.

During the process of becoming a carer you will be expected to attend Skills to Foster. It’s a two day course on the basics of fostering.

We regularly ask experienced fosters carers to meet with those who are going through the assessment process, to share their experiences of fostering. New carers find this invaluable and the training is a great opportunity for carers to meet others who are going through the same process as themselves.

You will be supported to complete the ‘Training, Support and Development Standards’ (TDS) portfolio in your first year post-approval. You will be offered specialist training throughout your fostering career.

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We know that everyone’s family is different and unique just like the children and young people we support. Having a baby wouldn’t prevent you from fostering but if you have children under the age of two there would be limitations on placing children with you. If you would like to find out more please speak to a member of our team.

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One of the biggest advantages of fostering with Capstone Foster Care is that you will be given a choice about who you foster. We get to know our carers so when we do contact you about placing an individual in your home, it’s because we have carefully selected you to be a good match, and you can meet the needs of the child or young person needing a foster carer.

We do our best to obtain as much information as possible so that you know about the young person’s behaviour, background and their needs. This is to ensure that you can offer the support required.

We will fully support your decision and you will only take children that you feel comfortable with and that you feel are right for you and your family. We will never pressure you into taking a placement as we want the best outcomes for all of our carers and young people.

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The look, shape and size of our foster carers does not matter to us. We only look at what a person can give to the role as a foster carer. If however, your weight is resulting in medical problems, your GP/medical assessor may say that you are not healthy enough to meet the demands of looking after a foster child. It is also important for foster carers to encourage healthy eating habits by children they foster.

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If you smoke, there are some restrictions. You are still able to foster but the welfare of the young person placed needs to be considered. At Capstone Foster Care, we would not place a child under the age of 5 in a smoking household.

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It might be difficult to foster if you do not drive or have a car. The reason for this is that the foster child placed with you would need to attend school and you would need to attend training and regular meetings. This doesn’t mean you can’t foster it just means that there will be careful consideration about how you can get out and about, to meet the demands of being a foster carer. Sometimes the local public transport system will provide adequate means of transport.

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It’s really important that we support children and young people by placing them within an environment that can match and respect their cultural and religious needs. That’s why we encourage people of different religions and backgrounds to apply to become foster carers.

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We will always do a medical check during an assessment to ensure that a carer can meet the needs of a child in care. If you suffer from depression or have been prescribed antidepressants we would discuss this with you and find out more about your circumstances on an individual basis.

It is also important to consider the safe storage of any medication in your household.

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We are required to request a DBS (formerly Criminal Record Bureau) check on anyone who is being assessed to become a foster carer. So early disclosure to us of any offences is really helpful.

A criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from fostering. We need to know that you are a safe person to look after young people, but we know that having a criminal record doesn’t necessarily make someone unsafe to look after children. A lot depends on the circumstances, timescale and surrounding background. Offences are assessed confidentially on an individual basis.

There are some criminal offences that will preclude you from becoming a foster carer. If you, your partner or a member or your household has convictions that relate to sexual or violent offences towards children you will be unable to foster.

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Foster carers receive an allowance for looking after a foster child. However, they do not receive child benefit payments.

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We know that life can be challenging and financial problems are not unusual. What matters to us is knowing that you can provide dedicated support to a child or young person. Your individual circumstances and the implications of any financial stress would be discussed during your assessment.

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We do not expect our carers come to us with first aid training. We do, however, offer mandatory child first aid training to carers.

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Questions about my family or partner

If you are living with your partner, they will need to have a DBS check and attend basic training. This is because they are part of the fostering household and they will be supporting you, even if you are the main carer.

Anyone living in your home over the age of 18 will also need to have a DBS check.

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There are lots of people who foster who have their own birth children.

When a child is placed into a fostering household in which there are birth children, it’s because in our judgement the foster child will fit well into that household.

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Carers who are in same sex relationships can become foster carers. You will be assessed in the same way as any other potential carer household.

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Applicants and their partners will be required to undergo a criminal record check (or DBS) before becoming a foster carer, so early disclosure of any offences is really helpful. A criminal record will not necessarily preclude you from fostering. We need to know that you are a safe person to look after young people, but we know that having a criminal record doesn’t necessarily make someone unsafe to look after children.

A lot depends on the circumstances, timescale and surrounding background. Offences are assessed confidentially on an individual basis.

There are some criminal offences that will preclude you from becoming a foster carer. If you, your partner or a member or your household has convictions that relate to sexual or violent offences towards children you will be unable to foster.

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Questions about my home

Generally each foster child needs to have their own bedroom. However, young siblings can normally share a room.

This would normally be discussed as part of the placement planning process.

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Each child you support will need their own space so it’s essential that you have a spare bedroom for a foster child.

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Yes.

Some landlords might need to give you permission before you can foster.

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Yes. You can foster if you live in a flat as long as you have enough space overall and a spare room for the foster child.

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Yes – probably! Lots of people who foster have pets. Sometimes children and young people can benefit by forming strong bonds with pets, helping them settle more easily into your home.

However, some pets can be risky to children and any possible risks are discussed durin­g the assessment process.

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