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Can I foster if I have pets?

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A common misconception about fostering is that you won’t be able to foster if you have pets.

However, this is simply a myth – having pets does not prevent you from fostering at all. Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit or budgie it shouldn’t stop you from becoming a foster carer. In fact, having pets can be seen as a positive influence on your foster child’s life. Learn more about fostering with pets from our detailed guide.

Foster care rules for pet owners

Fostering with pets is possible, as long as you adhere to some simple guidelines. In line with BAAF (British Association for Fostering & Adoption) guidelines, Capstone Foster Care have a duty to ensure that our foster carers know about, and adhere to, the following:

  • Pets are healthy e.g. regularly wormed, regularly checked at the vets
  • Gardens are free from pet urine and excrement
  • Pets are kept under control
  • Carpets and furniture are kept free of pet hairs
  • Feeding bowls and litter trays are not within reach of children

Fostering with pets assessment process

Of course, every animal is different – and every child is different. So, it’s important to understand that when you apply to become a foster carer, your pets will also have to be included in the foster care assessment process. During the assessment process we will consider factors such as the animal’s temperament, their behaviour and their ability to adapt to strangers in their home to ensure that it doesn’t impact your foster child’s safety.

If you have three dogs or more in your household, a standard risk assessment will be completed for each dog. However, as there is a possibility of “pack behaviour”, the dogs will be assessed how they interact with each other. And, depending on any concerns, a specialist dog behaviour assessment will be carried out if required.

If you have a pet of any kind, it should be recorded in your Form F assessment and at subsequent foster carers reviews. However, please also inform your social worker if you have any pets. You will also be asked in your initial fostering visit whether you are willing to foster animals that come with foster children, too.

Safey considerations

Some breeds of dog can impact your likelihood of being approved as a foster carer due to safety concerns. Owners of dogs listed or registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act such as XL Bully, Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, Filo Brasileiro will not be approved.

The child’s needs will also have to be taken into account when considering fostering with pets. It might be that a child is allergic to cats or has a strong fear of dogs – in which case, it will be unlikely that this child would be matched with you as a foster carer.  

When considering fostering with pets, it’s also important to consider the safety of your dog, cat or other pet. Some children in foster care may have never lived with pets before and won’t know how to act around them – so boundaries will need to be established early on regarding how the child should interact with your pet.

For further information about the fostering requirements read our guide about who can foster.  Or, if you’re ready to start your foster care journey, get in touch with a member of our expert team today. Alternatively, learn more about the fostering process now.

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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