Who can foster?

Are you passionate about making a difference for children, and have energy and space in your life? If you’ve considered fostering but don’t think you’re eligible because of your age, gender, marital status etc, it’s time to think again. It’s not about your circumstances, it’s about the support you can offer a child. Whether you’re old or young, married or single, male or female, gay or straight, renting or a homeowner – you can foster.

Find your local fostering team


Your personal circumstances

You do need:

  • to be over 21 (in some areas it’s 25). There is no upper age limit;
  • time (most of our carers are there full-time for the children and young people they foster, but we also need part-time carers to provide breaks over weekends, holidays and evenings);
  • a spare bedroom big enough to fit a single bed, chest of drawers and wardrobe.

We’ll also consider:

  • how easily you can get around your local area
  • your health;
  • your financial security;
  • your criminal record, if you have Schedule 1 Offences or a large number of repeat convictions;
  • If you have pets that might be considered dangerous or aggressive.
mum and daughter playing

Your qualities

The right qualities and personality are by far the most important thing we look for in a foster carer.

You’ll need:

  • to really like and enjoy the company of children and young people;
  • to be interested and always willing to learn more;
  • the energy and resilience to stick with it, even if things are difficult;
  • a lot of understanding and the ability to look beyond a child’s behaviour to the reasons for it;
  • the ability to be consistent and confident in your decisions;
  • to be able to develop trust with a child by listening and talking;
  • to work as part of a team with families, social workers, teachers and health workers;
  • a flexible approach, with a sense of fun and lots of enthusiasm;
  • to make a child or young person feel part of your family.

Your experience

You’ll need to have some past experience with children or young people, but you don’t need to be an expert. You don’t need to have already been a parent. Your experience might come from being a parent, but it might come from spending time caring for children in your family. It could come from volunteering, or working with children or young people.

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Fostering myths.

Too old? 

44% of people think that if you’re over 55 you can’t be a foster carer. They’re wrong.

We don’t have upper age limits although you will need to have enough energy and experience. Almost 10% of our foster carers are over 60 and 3% are under 30.

Wrong gender? 

Nearly a fifth (16%) of people believe that if you’re a man you can’t foster. Both women and men make great foster carers, and almost half of ours are men.



1 in 3 people assume that if you’re gay you can’t foster. We welcome applications from people who can bring different skills, knowledge and life experiences to fostering whether they’re straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual.

Not a home owner? 

1 in 3 people believe if you live in rented accommodation you can’t foster.

You don’t need to own your house – as long as each child can have their own bedroom you can foster. Some of our foster carers rent and some own their homes.

Can’t afford to give up work? 

Foster carers are given financial support and many regard it as a career. You will receive fees and allowances, so you can focus your time and skills on caring for the children or young people in your care.

Call us on 0845 862 0562

For an informal chat with one of our friendly team. Open from Monday to Friday 9-5

Request an information pack