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Can I foster if…?

Often when people start thinking about fostering, there are common misconceptions on whether you can foster or not based on who you are, your career and experience and where you live.

That’s why we’ve put together a fostering FAQs section based on questions relating to ‘can I foster if…’. However, if you have a question which we have not answered below, please get in touch with a member of our friendly team for more information.

Fostering FAQs

Primary fostering requirements

Can I foster if I’m too old or too young?

Fostering with Excel Fostering requires you to be at least 21 years of age – however, there is no upper age limit on becoming a foster carer. If you are fit and healthy, and able to look after younger children, then there’s no reason why older age should prevent you from being able to foster.

Can I foster if I’m not a British citizen?

Being a British citizen is not a requirement of becoming a foster carer – however, most fostering services would expect you to be a full-time resident living in the UK. If you’re in the UK for a limited time, but still keen to foster, our team of experts here at Excel Fostering can provide you with the information you need. Find out more about the fostering requirements, or get in touch with our team now.

Can I foster if my house is too small?

The size of your house will not always be a determining factor in whether or not you can foster. The most important thing is that you will need to have a spare room in order to foster a child – as this is one of the primary foster care requirements. It’s also important to note that whether or not you own your property will also not be a quality that would determine your eligibility to foster – however, you will need to demonstrate financial stability if you are renting a property.

Who I am

Can I foster as a single parent?

Yes – you can foster as a single parent. Fostering as a single parent may take a little extra energy because you’re likely to not have the support from a partner, but it’s definitely possible to foster as a single parent. Learn more about single parent fostering from our detailed guide.

Can I foster with a criminal record?

Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from being able to foster. However, your ability to foster is dependent on the circumstances of the offence, how long ago it took place, the type of offence and other factors to consider too. Read our guide on ‘Can you foster with a criminal record?’ to find out more information on fostering with a criminal record.

Can I foster if I’m gay?

Your sexual orientation will not affect your ability to foster – whether you are gay, straight, bisexual or other. Fostering requires a specific set of personality traits, however, sexual orientation is not one of those requirements. See our LGBT fostering guide for all your LGBT fostering FAQs answered.

Can I foster if I can’t drive?

It’s important to be able to meet the needs of young people in care, as this is the priority goal of being a foster carer. This could mean dropping them off at school or after-school activities, to or from appointments or meeting up with their birth family. If you are looking to foster but you cannot drive, you will need to demonstrate you have access to good public transport links.

Can I foster if I have medical or health problems?

Health problems will not necessarily prevent you from fostering – for example, if you have a chronic illness or disability. However, these health problems will have to be taken into consideration during your fostering application process, and when placements are determined. The success of your application will be dependent on the nature of the medical condition or disability. However, it’s important to note that if the disability or illness prevents you from being able to take care of children, this may affect your ability to foster.

Can I foster if I have pets?

Having pets in your home does not prevent you from being able to foster. However, there are some guidelines that you’ll need to adhere to – this includes ensuring your pets are healthy, gardens are kept clean and pets are kept under control.

My career and experience

Can I foster and work?

Fostering is seen as a full-time job. That means that when you become a foster parent, it’s common to make this your only career. There are, however, various circumstances where you can continue to work while fostering – this could be, for example, if you are fostering as a couple and one person can stay home to look after the foster children while the other continues to work. Learn more about if you can work and foster from our detailed guide.

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

To be able to become a foster carer, you will need to have some degree of experience with children. It’s important to note that this does not need to come from your own children – so if you do not have children, you can gain experience with children elsewhere, such as through your profession or volunteer work.

Can I foster if I am on benefits?

Yes – you can foster if you are receiving benefits. For taking care of a child, you will receive fostering payments, and these payments are generally disregarded as income when calculating welfare benefits, or only taxable income from your fostering payments is regarded as income. Therefore, there is a generous tax scheme in place, meaning many foster carers’ taxable income is zero.

Learn more information on whether you can foster by contacting a member of our expert team here at Excel Fostering. We can provide you with all the fostering advice you need to make your decision whether to become a foster carer. Find out more about the fostering process and the fostering requirements now.

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