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Can you Foster and Work?


When people think about becoming foster parents, a common line of thought is about fostering and working.

If they have or want a full-time job outside the home, they ask, “Can I still foster?” The short answer may very well be, “No.” However, there are circumstances where a “Yes” could be the answer. Learn everything you need to know about fostering and working today with help from Capstone Foster Care.

Can you foster and work full-time?

If your fostering arrangement involves a set period of time, it is possible for fostering while working full-time at a job outside of your foster care responsibilities. For instance, if you provide respite care, you will know in advance when your fostering services are required. Otherwise, because there is no set appointment for when local authorities take children and young people into care, there is no prearranged time for when foster care is needed.

Some children have been in care since birth and in their experience – they may have been moved from place to place. Others may have endured living conditions that hindered their development and harmed their health. It is essential that they are placed in a caring, safe and stable home.

Can couples foster and work?

If you are a foster couple, you would have more flexibility regarding your job because one of you could always be available for the child’s needs while the other one is at work outside the home. Fostering as a couple makes working more realistic, but it’s also worth noting that fostering itself acts as a full-time job – so it may be worth evaluating both of your commitments to fostering and assessing how best to approach working.

Do foster carers pay tax and national insurance?

Foster carers are categorised as self-employed – however, there is a generous tax scheme for foster parents. This is called Qualifying Care Relief  – and this scheme calculates a unique threshold each year. Due to the help from this scheme, many foster carers do not pay tax from their fostering placements.

Can single parents foster and work?

For a single parent, fostering while working full-time may become a problem. You will have to evaluate your working hours and your fostering commitment. As well as providing a home and affection to the foster child or young person, you must be available for meetings with the foster agency social worker, the child’s teacher, and other personnel involved in protecting the child’s welfare and wellbeing.

Can I foster if I had previously had financial problems?

If you have had financial problems in your past, this shouldn’t affect your eligibility to foster – however, you will need to prove that you are now financially secure enough to provide for a fostering family.

Is fostering a job?

Another common question we get asked is, “Is being a foster parent a job?”. The bottom line is that, when you become a foster carer, your first responsibility is to the child in care and this is a 24/7 job. The reality is that fostering may be a sporadic job sometimes and you might not always have a placement. And it’s also worth noting that when there is no placement, there is no payment.

Fostering is considered by many to be a career and as such, they do not want to jeopardise the stability and security of the home they offer children in care by being distracted by another job. While foster carers are paid an allowance when a child is placed with them and fostering is often considered as a career, fostering is not primarily about the pay that you can earn as a carer.

The fostering allowance

Our fostering allowance ensures that both you and your fostering child are able to live comfortably. The allowance provides:

  • diverse needs of each foster child
  • a good standard of living for both foster family and child
  • a tax-free allowance

The fostering allowance does not impact other benefits such as housing benefit or working tax credits either.

Part of your assessment as a foster carer involves your ability to provide support and training for a looked after child. Families with their own children may see a difference in between the needs of their own children and a child in care because the disadvantaged child may have suffered trauma. In addition, the looked after child is in a home that is new to them and they may take a while to feel accepted. They may be attending a new school and have to make new friends, as well as settle in with a new family in a new house.

Looking for more information on if you can foster and work? Contact Capstone Foster Care today or call us on 0800 012 4004 – we’re here to help answer all of your fostering and working queries.

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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Find out more about fostering with Capstone.

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