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Fostering FAQ

We have gathered together some of the most commonly asked questions from people like you who are thinking about becoming foster carers.

If you have any other questions that we haven't answered here, then please call us on 0800 389 0143 or email and we’ll come back to you as soon as we can.

Am I too old to foster?

No! Age really is just a number when it comes to fostering. We are looking for people who have life experiences they can bring to fostering so, as long as you have the energy and desire to keep up with the young people in your care, age is not a barrier. 

Can I foster if I have pets?

Yes you can. In fact some young people will be matched with you and your family because you have pets. Animals, especially cats and dogs, can act as a great ice breaker especially on that first day when you and the young person are feeling nervous about them being in your home for the first time.

I have a criminal record, does that stop me from fostering?

It depends what the criminal record is for but if it was something like stealing a car and it was some time ago, you could now be an excellent role model for a young person who may be going down the same path as you when you were younger. Don’t let a criminal record put you off speaking to us as you will have lots to offer a young person. Be honest and up front with us and we’ll let you know if your past will be a barrier to fostering.

I am single, can I foster?

Yes you certainly can. We have many foster carers who are single who have a solid support network of family and friends who offer practical and emotional support when needed. Don’t forget, the Nexus team is always here to support you so you will never feel alone when you foster with us.

I’d like to carry on working when I foster. Is this OK?

This really depends on the child. Ideally, we prefer that there is a foster carer available for the child all of the time. Some young people may not be in school or may be on a shortened timetable and they cannot be at home alone. You also need to be available to take young people to school, to appointments and to contact visits to see their birth families. You also have to go to training yourself as a foster carer. If you cannot give up work completely let us know as some of our foster carers work from home or have flexible hours so it can sometimes work.

I can’t drive. Does that mean I can’t foster?

This depends on the area you live in. If you are in a very rural area this could cause a problem but if you live in a city driving may not be a necessity depending on the types of young people you are looking after. 

We are a same sex couple, can we foster?

Of course you can, we are simply looking for good parents! We are always looking for diverse foster carers to reflect the diversity of young people coming into care. There are sometimes young people who cannot be placed with one gender or another for various reasons so this is a good match with same sex foster carers.

What happens when we want to go on holiday?

We encourage you to take your foster child on holiday with you so they really feel part of the family but we also understand that you will need a break from fostering so you receive 14 days paid respite a year. If you do want to take your foster child on holiday abroad, planning is crucial as not all looked after children will have passports.

What happens if I become ill during the assessment process?

The assessment process takes between 4 to 6 months to complete. During this time life happens - you may have illnesses, family bereavements, holidays etc so we are very flexible and can extend your panel date further into the future if necessary.

I rent my home, can I foster?

Yes you can. We will need a note from the property owner to say that they are happy for you to foster in their property but this has never presented a problem for us before.

I practice a religion, can I foster?

Yes you can. We are always looking for foster carers from different backgrounds, cultures and religions so we have the most opportunity to match young people with the foster carers best suited to them and their cultural and religious needs.

Can I choose the age of the children I foster?

We prefer that our foster carers have an open mind about age groups as it gives us the opportunity to offer you the chance to look after a wider number of young people. If you have a broad approval from 0 – 18 years old we can ask you if you would like to look after a sibling group who may have ages ranging from 6 to 12 or a teenager. If you tell us you just want to look after a certain age group you are limiting the number of young people you could have helped if you had a more open mind about ages. We encourage our foster carers to look at the child not their age and then decide if you and your family can help them.