Who can foster a child?

Almost anyone can foster. Find out more about who can foster with Action for Children Fostering.

Speak to your local team

If you are over 21 (25 in Scotland and Wales), are a permanent resident in the UK and have a spare room, the chances are you can be a foster carer.

Action for Children foster carers come from all walks of life. A wide range of foster carers will give us more choice to better match with the diverse range of children and young people who need a safe and loving home.

We’re looking for caring people who can give a child in need their time, attention, affection and a safe, nurturing place to call home.

Foster carers need to be great listeners, optimistic, realistic, warm and passionate. If you have space in your heart to change a child’s life - you can be a good foster carer.

Foster carers can be single, married, homeowners or tenants. Action For Children Fostering welcomes people from all ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community.

Who can foster a child?

Can you answer "YES" to all of the following:

Find out if you are eligible:

  1. Are you over 21 (25 in Scotland and Wales)? YES/NO
  2. Do you have a spare room? YES/NO
  3. Do you have time to spare to dedicate to caring for a child? YES/NO
  4. Do you enjoy the company of children? YES/NO
  5. Are you fit and healthy with enough energy to look after a child? YES/NO
  6. Are you free of any past, present or pending criminal convictions involving a sexual offence or an offence against a child? YES/NO
  7. Are you a permanent resident of the UK? YES/NO
  8. Are you either single or in a secure, long term relationship? YES/NO
  9. Are you willing to attend training sessions, support groups and be part of a team? YES/NO
  10. Can you provide references from someone who has known you for over 3 years? YES/NO

If you have answered YES to all of the above you are now ready to begin your fostering journey.

LGBTQ+ and Fostering

It’s really important that our foster carers reflect current, diverse family structures in society.

At Action for Children Fostering we welcome all potential foster carers including those from the LGBTQ+ community.

Gay fathers with child

What is the fostering process?

During the fostering process, applicants will need to provide references and undergo some compulsory checks including a medical and DBS, PVG or Access NI depending on your location.

As long as you are free of any past, present, or pending criminal convictions involving sexual assault or an offence against a child, you will be considered for fostering.

Your medical assessment will be arranged by you with your own GP and Action for Children Fostering will cover any costs incurred.

It is not an invasive assessment or unnecessarily intrusive.

We want to make sure fostering is in your best interests as well as the children you could be looking after.

Is there support and training?

Woman sat at desk talking to another woman on a video call

Foster carers will need to commit time not only to looking after the child or young person they are caring for, they also need to complete training courses and meetings, some of which will be online. Action for Children Fostering will give you all the support, training and guidance you will need to be a great foster carer.

The importance of a spare room

Foster children have often experienced trauma in their lives.

Having a safe place, a place they can call their own, is essential. They need a dedicated place where they can play, be calm or to be creative without distraction.

Will a mental health issue prevent me from fostering?

No. Action for Children Fostering recognises that there are many types of mental health issues and we would discuss your particular circumstances in detail with you.

As long as your condition, and any medication you may be taking on a daily basis, wouldn’t affect your ability to care for a child in your home, this would not stop you from applying to be a foster carer.

Our priority is providing safe, stable and loving homes for vulnerable children.

As long as your condition does not stop you from doing that, you could apply to be a foster carer.

Can I foster if I have a disability?

Action For Children Fostering welcomes all fostering applications and does not discriminate.

You can still apply to become a foster carer even if you have a physical disability or mental health issue.

Fostering and working

Being a foster carer in England does not prevent you from having additional paid employment. In some parts of the UK, however, the main carer is required to be available full-time.

Can I foster if I have a pet?

Boy Playing With Dog

We welcome foster carers who have pets.

We believe that pets can be a great source of comfort, support and a calming influence. They can also help to build confidence in children. An assessment of the suitability and safety of the pet you own would be carried out during one of our visits to your home.

Ready to start your fostering journey?

Are you ready to start your fostering journey with Action for Children Fostering?

Start your fostering journey

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