You may have lots of questions about fostering, we’re here to help and guide you through the process. Many commonly asked questions and myths about fostering are answered, however, everyone is different so we’re happy to answer any specific question you may have.
What Exactly is Fostering?
Q. What is Fostering?
A. Fostering is looking after someone else’s child in your home. It’s different from adoption where the adoptive parent becomes the legal parent of the child.
Q. Am I too old to be a foster carer?
A. There are no age limits to fostering, you need to be fit, well and have the energy to look after children.
Q. How old do you need to be to foster a child?
A. There is no minimum age but you need the maturity to understand and meet the needs of children.
Q. Do you need to own your own home?
A. No, many foster carers rent their homes. The important thing is that your living arrangements are stable.
Q. Do you have to be married to be a foster carer?
A. No. Many foster carers are not married.
Q. Can single people foster?
A. Single men and single women are foster carers.
Q. Can gay couples foster?
A. Yes. It’s about what you can offer children, not who you’re in a relationship with.
Q. Can foster children share with my children?
A. No. Children in care require their own bedroom but may share with their own siblings.
Q. I/We don’t have children, can I still foster?
A. You don’t have to have had your own children.
Q. I have been in trouble with the police or courts before, does that stop me fostering?
A. It all depends. Each case is considered individually. All we ask is that you’re open and up front from the word go. As a guide the older and more minor the offence the less likely it would be to stop you fostering. People who have moved on in their lives can often become foster carers.
Q. I have had some medical issues, can I still foster?
A. By law everyone who fosters has to have a medical to ensure you are fit and well enough to meet the needs of a child. This is normally carried out by your GP and any additional information from a consultant can be considered by our independent medical advisor.
Q. If I have a disability, impairment or long-term condition can I still apply?
A. Yes. We aim to match the different skills and abilities of all applicants to the needs of individual children. We are happy to discuss each person’s specific circumstances.
Q. Where do the children come from?
A. Children are referred to SFS from a wide range of local authorities
Q. How old are children in care
A. Children of all ages may be in care from 0 to 18 years of age
Q. What are foster children like
A. All children are different. While many children in care have had unfortunate early life experiences at the end of the day children are children and deserve a safe, secure, loving family.
Q. Do foster carers get paid?
A. Foster carers receive a weekly allowance for each child they are looking after. With holiday, birthday, festival and training payments this equates to an average of £400 per week for one child. This may increase for children and young people with particularly complex needs or disabilities.
Q. Is the allowance taxable?
A. Most of the fostering allowance is not taxable.
Q. Will fostering affect my benefits?
A. In general fostering allowances do not affect benefits but this can be complex depending on individual circumstances. We can offer specific advice.
Training & Support
Q. What training is available for foster carers?
A. There is an initial training course over two weekends to help you fully understand what fostering is all about. After that we develop a personal training programme to focus on areas that are most helpful to you based on your experience.
Q. What support is available when fostering?
A. All foster carers have a named, qualified, social worker assigned to them.
Q. What happens out of office hours if I need help?
A. We run an on-call service 24 hours a day so an experienced, qualified social worker is available at all times.
Ready to apply?
Q. I still have some questions about fostering.
A. No problem. Give us a call or email and we’ll help – click here for our contact details.
Q. Ok I want to apply what do I do next?
A. Just click here as we need some information from you.