Spare room

Fostering and the importance of a spare room to our children and young people.

Speak to your local team

Anyone thinking about fostering will have seen that a key requirement is to have a spare room, but is this really necessary? Yes, it absolutely is.

Foster children have often experienced trauma in their lives.

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

Going to live in a new home with a new family can be extremely overwhelming. Having a place where they feel secure and can go to if they want to be on their own, or are feeling anxious, is vital.

Even having somewhere to go to relax, chill-out and listen to music can be therapeutic and help with a young person's well-being.

A place to call their own

Foster children often have never had a place they can call their own.

Being able to choose the position of their furniture, adding accessories or putting posters on their walls all help to give them a sense and feeling of belonging.

This makes them feel welcome and a part of the family, which, in turn, helps them settle in much better.

If you have space in your home and your heart you could be a foster carer. Listen to what one of our foster carers has to say:

Government requirement

Having a spare room is set out by the government’s national minimum standards requirements, recognising the importance of this.

These standards emphasise the fact that foster children need privacy, security and safety in order for them to be well-cared for. Having their own bedroom helps to facilitate this.

Care and privacy

Children who are fostered enjoy having some privacy and it is important for them to have a safe space, with their foster carers being close at hand to offer support if needed.

A young person having their own room can help them to adjust and settle in with their new family life.

Sharing a room

There are some situations where a siblings can share a room.

The bedroom must be big enough to give both children their own space and privacy and they must each have their own single bed.

The local authority and the fostering agency will make the decision if they think it is appropriate, on an individual basis.

What is a spare room?

In fostering terms a spare room is described as a separate space with a door and a window that is for the sole use of the foster child.

If you have existing children in the household, they should not be moved in together to create a spare room. However, if your other children are already sharing, this may be something we could consider.

As a minimum a spare bedroom requires; a window, a door, a bed, storage (wardrobe/drawers), a desk and chair, floor space (enough to play) and a radiator or wall heater. A box room would generally not be considered for any child over the age of 2 years.

A loft conversion could be considered a spare room if it meets all necessary building regulations and is big enough.

Safe access must be provided by way of a staircase (not a loft ladder) with a window acting as a fire escape. Certification is necessary.

If you have a spare room but it's not quite ready to welcome a foster child please contact us, we'd be happy to help.

What is not a spare room?

  • A spare room is not a through room (one other people have to pass through to access another part of the house).
  • A spare room is not the room of someone who is away at University.
  • It is not a room that previously belonged to another child who has been moved out to share with a sibling.
  • A spare room is not a converted dining room or second lounge (although this may be possible in certain circumstances).
  • It is not a room that is used regularly for overnight guests, grandchildren, or children from a previous relationship.