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The first question people generally ask when thinking of becoming a foster carer is, “Can I foster?”. So we created this guide to  answer some of the most commonly asked questions we recieve about fostering. 

What are the basic eligibility requirements to become a foster carer?

Firstly, there are three basic eligibility factors that are essential for becoming a foster carer, in addition to providing  a safe and loving home for your foster child.

  • A spare bedroom: Every foster child needs to have a safe space to call their own, which is why it’s important for them to have their own bedroom. For tips on how to prepare your spare bedroom for your foster child, read our guide.
  • Be healthy: It’s important that you are able to meet the demands of taking care of a child both physically and mentally, which is why you need to be in good health to become a foster carer.
  • Be over 21 years of age: Here at Capstone Foster Care, our minimum age criteria means you’ll need to be over the age of 21 to become a foster carer.
  • Be a full-time resident in the UK (or have indefinite leave to remain)

These are the main points of consideration when applying to become a foster carer. However, there are other eligibility factors to consider which can be found in our guide to foster care requirements.

Questions about families and relationships

Does my marital status affect my ability to foster a child?

Your marital status won’t affect your ability to foster a child, you can foster a child if you’re single, or as a couple. What matters most in foster care is the foster carer’s ability to provide a safe, loving and stable environment for the child.

Can I foster if I’m divorced?

Yes, you can become a foster carer if you’re divorced. If you’re going through a divorce while you’re fostering, your change of circumstances will need to be assessed to make sure that it doesn’t affect your ability to carry out your duties as a foster carer. To find out more read our guide on what happens if foster parents get divorced.  

Can I foster if I already have children living in my home?

Yes, absolutely. You can foster if you already have children living in your home, as long as you have adequate space. In fact, having a stable family environment with other children can be seen as an advantage as they may benefit from interaction with other children. For more information, read our guide on how to navigate the impact of fostering if you already have children.

Can I foster if I am part of the LGBTQ+ community?

Being part of the LGBTQ+ community does not disqualify you from becoming a foster parent. Here at Capstone, we’re proud that equality, inclusion and anti-discriminatory practice is at the core of what we do. We recognise that diverse families can provide loving and stable homes for children and young people.  

Questions about home, work and finances

Can I foster and work?

While fostering is a career in itself, you can potentially still work and foster, depending on your circumstances. There are a number of different elements to consider including the type of foster care you’ll be providing. How flexible and supportive your employer is. The level of childcare support you have and of course, the needs of your foster child.

Want to learn more about fostering whilst working? Visit 'Can I Foster and Work?'

Can I foster if I have no experience working with children?

Yes, you can foster if you have no experience working with children. While experience with children can be beneficial, there are plenty of other qualities and skills that can contribute to you becoming a successful foster carer. Not only this, but, as a foster carer with Capstone Foster Care, you’ll have access to a wealth of support and training to prepare you for life as a foster parent.

Can I foster if I am on benefits?

Yes, you can foster if you are on benefits. Although, it may affect the benefits you’re entitled to depending on which benefits you qualify for, as you are paid a fostering allowance.

For more information, read our guide on fostering if you’re on benefits

Can I foster if I rent?

Becoming a foster parent as someone who rents their property won’t affect your ability to become a foster parent as long as you are able to provide space and stability.

Want to leanr more about fostering while renting? Read our dedicated guide.

Can I foster if I have pets?

Owning a pet does not automatically disqualify you from becoming a foster carer. However, we will assess the compatibility of your pet with your foster child’s needs. For example, we’ll need to ensure that your pet is well-behaved, friendly and not aggressive towards children.

Want to learn more about fostering  and pets? Visit 'Can I Foster if I have Pets?'

Can I foster if I don’t drive?

Technically you can foster if you don’t drive, but you may be asked to prove you have good public transport links in order to be able to attend any meetings or to keep up with the needs of your foster child.

Legal and background questions

Can I foster if I have a criminal record?

A criminal record does not necessarily mean you’ll be unable to become a foster carer. However, there are a number of different factors that will be assessed during your application process. Such as the nature and circumstance of the crime and how long ago the crime was committed.

Want to learn more about fostering with a criminal record? Visit 'Can you Foster with a Criminal Record?'

Can I foster if I have a history of social services involvement?

While having a history of social services involvement may present a challenge when applying to become a foster carer, it may not automatically preclude you from becoming a foster parent. The best interests of the child will be the primary consideration, and you’ll be assessed for the reasons behind your previous involvement. You will also need to provide evidence of your personal growth and development, your stability and readiness to provide a nurturing environment for a foster child.

Can I foster if I have a restraining order against someone?

If you do have a restraining order against someone, it could affect the approval process of your application to foster, depending on the risk to your foster child’s safety which is likely to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Questions around immigration and citizenship

Can I foster if I am a non-citizen or permanent resident?

You do not need to be a UK citizen to become a foster carer, but you do need to be a full time resident of the UK with indefinite leave to remain.

Questions about health and fitness

Can I foster if I have a medical condition or disability?

A medical condition or disability should not affect your ability to become a foster carer, as long as your medical condition or disability does not affect your ability to care for your foster child.

To learn more about fostering with a disability, visit 'Can I Foster if I'm Disabled?'.

Emotional and Psychological Readiness

Can I foster if I’m currently undergoing counselling or therapy?

Yes, you can foster a child while undergoing counselling or therapy. It is important to note that if there has been a change in your circumstances that results in you needing counselling or therapy, you should contact your social worker who may need to re-assess your emotional and psychological readiness to foster. In some cases, undergoing counselling and therapy can make therapeutic fostering, like MATTs (Multi-Disciplinary Assessment Treatment & Therapy Service)  a good option. MATTs involve working with children who have experienced trauma or have behavioural or emotional challenges, and having a foster parent who has experienced counselling or therapy can make for a more empathetic experience.  

Can I foster if I have a history of anxiety or depression?

Yes, you can become a foster carer if you have a history of anxiety or depression. However, you will be assessed to make sure you are well enough to provide your foster child with the care that they need. And, if there are any changes in your mental health, it’s important you speak to your social worker.

Questions around age and life stage

Can I be too old to foster?

There’s no upper age limit for becoming a foster carer, in fact some of our foster parents are in their 70s. As long as you a fit and well and can provide a stable and loving home, you cannot be too old to foster.

Can I be too young to foster?

Here at Capstone, you must be a minimum of 21 years old to be a foster carer.

Cultural and religious considerations

Can I foster if I belong to a specific religious or cultural community?

Absolutely, you can foster if you belong to a specific religious or cultural group.

For more information, visit 'Fostering and Religion'.

Can I foster if I am of a different race or cultural background than my foster child?

Yes, you can foster a child of a different race or cultural background to your foster child. It is important that you are able to provide support and respect the cultural identities of the children in your care as well as having the willingness to be culturally sensitive and engage in ongoing learning about your foster child’s culture and experiences.  

Can I foster if I don’t speak the same language as the child in my care?

While we will always endeavour to ensure that a child is matched with a family that they are able to communicate with. Rarely there will be emergency scenarios where there may not be an available foster family that speaks the same language as a foster child. In this scenario, they may be matched with a family that does not speak the same language as them.

If you’re ready to begin your fostering journey, you can learn more about the application process here. If you’re considering fostering or asking the question “Can I foster?” and need more information, contact our team who will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Hear from our Carers

One of our carers, Ian from Somerset, had been thinking about fostering for over three years before he felt it was the right time to start fostering. He said:

“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.”

Thinking of fostering?

If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.

The information you provide will be used to respond to the enquiry you have submitted, for further information please refer to our privacy policy.

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