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Mythbusting the top 10 Foster Care Myths


Looking for a career change? Perhaps to a job that has the potential to increase the quality of your life while making a huge difference in the lives of children and young people?

Then it’s important to understand some old myths about fostering. Find out who can foster from our top 10 fostering myths. How many of these myths have you believed?

Who can foster?

1. I’m single, so I can’t be a foster parent

Foster carers are not required to be married. They need to have a desire to look after children and young people and help them work toward a brighter future. Single men and women are welcomed, and encouraged to become foster carers. As a foster carer, you are part of a larger team so there is no need to have a spouse to share the responsibilities of caring for a child. You never foster alone; there is a strong team working with you. Learn more about single parent fostering [KM1] now.

2. I don’t own a home, so I can’t be a foster parent

You do not need to own your home – it’s very acceptable for it to be a rented property, however, you do have to check with your landlord before applying and have them provide approval for foster children in their property. You will also need to provide not only financial security, but stability too if you are living in rented accommodation – meaning it would be not be recommended to keep moving around if you are taking care of a foster child.

3. I’d love to foster but I’m gay

Being gay does not disqualify you from being a foster carer. Single gay and lesbian people, as well as gay and lesbian couples, are encouraged to become foster carers. Of all the components that go into a foster carer, your sexual orientation is not on the list.

Any placement is discussed with both the child and the foster parent before it happens and whether you’re male or female, gay or straight, bisexual or transgender is not an issue.. Learn more about LGBT fostering myth busting [KM2] from our article.

4. I want to foster but don’t want to give up work

The reality is that when you become a foster carer, your first obligation is to the child in care and this is a 24/7 job. However, fostering may turn out to be a sporadic job and you might not always have a placement and, without a placement, there is no payment. When you apply to be a foster carer, you discuss your job and your desire to keep it. Arrangements can often be made to accommodate it along with fostering. If for instance, you have a spouse or partner, one of you can always be available for the child. For more information, read our guide on Can I Work and Foster[KM3] ?

5. I am retired and too old to foster

At Capstone Foster Care, we have a lower age limit of 21 but that is mostly about maturity. There is no upper age limit. There are, however, health requirements. If you are in good health, mentally and physically, and have a high energy level, being a senior citizen is not an impediment to being a foster parent.

6. I have a baby, so I can’t foster

Do not eliminate the possibility of fostering because you have a baby. When you apply to become a foster parent, your current situation is discussed and assessed. A new baby in your household will bring many changes but these changes do not necessarily mean you cannot foster. Your ability to provide the care that your baby requires and that the foster child needs will be considered. It is important that you are not overwhelmed and that neither the baby nor the child in care is left wanting, or needing, more attention and care than you can provide.

7. I have pets, so I can’t become a foster carer

Pets are considered great therapy pals for children in care so the first response to this myth is that you can become a foster carer if you have pets. However, there are two exceptions to the statement that having pets will not disqualify you from fostering.

  • Local authorities will not allow children or young people to be placed in homes with more than three dogs or in a home with dogs listed in the Dangerous Dogs Act.
  • Guidelines to ensure pets are healthy, gardens are kept clean and pets are kept under control also need to be adhered to.

Learn more about fostering with pets [KM4] now.

8. I am disabled so cannot take care of a foster child

Not all disabilities disqualify you from fostering. While there is an emphasis on good health for foster carers, disabilities are not necessarily disqualifiers. If fostering will not put your health at risk, a disability will not prevent you from being a foster parent. There are expectations that must be met and if you can perform typical daily activities and attend necessary meetings, your disability will not be a preventative factor in fostering.

9. I don’t have my own children so don’t have the experience to foster a child

Experience is not required to be a foster parent. Not everyone can have children. This does not mean that you don’t have all the necessary mental, physical, and emotional equipment necessary to foster a child.

As for the experience, the agency provides ongoing training and support. If you have never had a child and therefore think that you will not know what to expect from a child placed with you, do not be concerned. A supervising social worker will be available for you from the beginning of your assessment and throughout your journey as a carer.

10. I’m unemployed so can’t foster

Being unemployed is beneficial for becoming a foster carer – it means that you are always available to care for a child. This would involve attending training sessions, meetings, and appointments that involve fostering and the child’s medical, educational, and social needs without having to reschedule prior commitments.

During the assessment process, being unemployed is not considered. Being unemployed assures that you are accessible and available to meet the child’s need at all times. However, there is a financial repercussion to being unemployed in some cases. If you have not had a job income for some time, you could possibly have a debt load. During the assessment process, one of the matters that is discussed is your financial situation.

Now the top 10 foster care myths are cleared up, learn more about the fostering process and how to apply to become a foster parent[KM5] . Alternatively, if your query hasn’t been answered, our guide on ‘Can I foster if…?[KM6] ’ covers to above points, and more, in detail. Get in touch [KM7] with an expert today for more information.

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Ways to

Our team of friendly fostering advisors are on hand to answer any questions you may have. We can offer you honest and practical advice that can help you decide if becoming a foster carer is right for you.

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