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What is stopping you from becoming a foster carer?

Foster Family

Becoming a foster carer is an ambition for many. The benefits of being a foster carer are plentiful but the responsibilities are enormous. That is why it is vital only the right people are selected to be foster carers. There are many steps in place and requirements that a prospective applicant must meet before they are even considered. Within this blog we will cover some of the most basic requirement questions that we are asked at Nexus Fostering.

How old do I have to be to foster?

As fostering is such a demanding and serious responsibility, the legal age to be a foster carer is at least 21 years old.

Do I need a spare room to foster?

It doesn’t matter if you own your home or rent your home, but to foster you must have a spare bedroom. A spare bedroom is classed as a room of it’s own that has all essential furniture, such as a wardrobe, bed, chest of drawers and space to keep personal belongings. The room must not be shared with yourself or your own children and it is very important for the child to have a space that they can call their own. The room may, however, be shared with the foster child’s own siblings.

Can I foster with a disability or mental health condition?

A disability or mental health condition does not immediately prevent you from becoming a foster carer. As we prioritise the safety of the children in our care and the health and safety of our carers it is important that you are able to carry out all of the daily activities that will be required of you, such as doing the school run, preparing meals, taking part in activities and much more. Therefore having a disability or mental health condition will not rule you out, but our team will need to assess your suitability when processing your application.

Can I foster i I have pets?

A pet can be a great companion and friend to a child. However, in the event that the foster child in question has any allergies or fears of certain animals then of course, the foster carer will be matched accordingly. Any pets must also be legal to own in the UK and cared for in a proper manner. For example, some pets may be mistreated, and a home where a pet is mistreated is not suitable for any child. Other pets may also be on the UK banned list of animals to own. Homes with these animals are potentially dangerous to a child’s wellbeing and also not suitable.

Can I foster with a criminal record?

In a similar way to other potential barriers, having a criminal record does not instantly rule you out from being a foster carer. However, if you have a criminal record then our team will need to be informed and a DBS check will be carried out on you and anyone else in your household over the age of 18. A criminal record will not result in automatic refusal, so we advise informing our team of your record and being as honest and transparent as possible early on in the process. When an applicant has a criminal record our focus is on the type of offence committed. If the applicant has a history of any type of offence against children, sexual offences or certain violent offences then applications will not be successful. We assess each applicant on an individual basis and consider many factors when deciding whether you are suitable or not, at the end of the day our main priority is ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the foster child, and that those who are entrusted with the title of being a foster carer are individuals who can provide the greatest value and care to a child.


Fostering insights


  • Foster Carer
  • Advice

Date published

12 January 2023

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