Our foster carers come from all walks of life, just like the children who need to be looked after. We welcome people from all backgrounds, nationalities, religions, genders and ages.
If you want to foster, don't put off applying because you think you won't fit the bill - there's no such thing as a typical foster carer:
- you don't need to have had your own children, but you do need some experience of looking after children or young people.
- you can be single or married, living with a partner, lesbian, gay, transsexual or bisexual.
- you don't have to own your home, you can be renting, but you'll need a spare room that can be used as a bedroom.
- you'll not be excluded for having a pet, unless it's a dangerous breed of dog - many children can benefit from living with a family pet.
- you don't need to have any childcare qualifications; we'll provide any training you'll need, particularly if you're going to be looking after children who have specific needs. We'll always consider your experience, knowledge and skills, and match the needs of the child before placing them with you.
You'll need to be over 21 years old and have the space in your home and life to welcome a child.
You'll also need to have patience, understanding and tolerance, as well as plenty of energy. It's important that you can provide a stable, safe, secure and loving environment to a child or young person at what may be a challenging time.
We know that everyone's situation is different and we'll talk through your personal circumstances with you. We'll also make sure it's the right time for you to foster, to give you and the child every chance to succeed.
What we need to consider
Being a foster carer can be a full-time job, so we'll take into consideration whether you're currently working. You can still foster school age children if you're working during the day, but you'll need to have arrangements in place for additional childcare if necessary.
If you don't have the time to devote to being a full-time foster carer you might want to consider a short term placement or respite care.
If you smoke, we can't place a child under five years old with you, or a child with specific health needs or disabilities. We'd also expect you not to smoke around children or encourage a child or young person to smoke.
Please tell us if you have a criminal record. Dependent upon the offence and when it occurred, you may still be able to foster.
Having a long term health condition or disability won't prevent you from fostering, unless it impacts on your ability to look after the child. We ask all potential foster carers to have a medical and we would always consider a GP's and medical adviser's opinion before making a decision.