Can I foster?

Take your first step into fostering with Olive Branch Fostering

Fostering UK

Can I foster?

If you are caring, patient and friendly, you’ll likely be able to handle the role of a foster carer well. Other personal requirements include being over 21, but no maximum age limit exists. But, again, this is purely down to the fact you’ll need to handle tasks and situations which can be, at times, demanding, so someone dedicated and mature is crucial. 

In addition to having the right personality, it’s also important to have the right environment to care for them. It doesn’t matter if the whole family lives at home as long as they are safe and caring. Any foster child you welcome into your home will need their own bedroom with room for bedroom furniture. 

Can I foster and work full-time?

Fostering a child can itself be a full-time role, and working-full time maybe challenging if you are a single parent. There will be regular meetings and training sessions, and you’ll need to transport your child to school and other activities. 

It may be doable in a co-parent situation where one parent remains full-time, and the other is available to care for the child. With older children, it will be more likely that they won’t need all of your time so a part-time role could be appropriate. However, it’s important that you can fulfil all duties required first and foremost. 


Can I foster and have pets?

In most situations, having pets will not be a disqualifying factor. In fact, pets can be an incredibly therapeutic presence for vulnerable children and a calming atmosphere in any household. 

The primary consideration here will be the safety of the child. For example, if the animal could be a threat or your residence is home to a dog listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act, there could be a risk to a child's safety, so it could become an issue in your application. 


Can I foster if I can’t drive?

If you can’t drive or you don’t have access to a car, it won’t necessarily disqualify your application. While being able to drive will help in transporting children to meetings and school, it isn’t a set requirement. Instead, you’ll need to demonstrate how you’ll be able to get around. This can be the case for many city-based families, and they rely on trains and buses to get around perfectly well. 

Can I foster with a criminal record?

Many people who are interested in becoming a foster carer might not apply because they have a criminal record. However, for many applicants, a criminal record may not disqualify them from being a foster carer. With foster care requiring a caring personality and nurturing environment, the focus is finding the right person. As such, a criminal record may not prevent you from becoming a foster carer. 

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be carried out for you and other household members as part of the application process. This process will flag any previous convictions or warnings issued as part of a criminal record. 

It is worth noting that the sooner a criminal record is discussed, the better. This will ensure no delays with your application. The Olive Branch Fostering team will always be open about how a criminal record could impact your ability to be a carer. 

For many minor crimes, the answer won’t be a straight no. It will depend on factors such as how long ago the offence happened and what type of offence it was. For example, if you received a caution five years ago, the likelihood is that you will be able to continue with your fostering application. 

What can disqualify me from becoming a foster carer?

When submitting your application, it’s understandable to be concerned about something that could disqualify you from becoming a foster carer. However, in most cases, there will be little that could disqualify you as long as you can provide a safe and nurturing home. 


Roles and responsibilities of a foster carer

Fostering is multi-faceted and incredibly rewarding – no two days are the same, and your responsibilities change depending on a child’s needs and age.

Read more here
What are the roles and responsibilities of foster parents

Common Questions

Yes. In fact, some young people will be matched with you because you have pets. Animals, particularly cats and dogs, can act as a great ice breaker, especially on that first day when you and the child might be feeling nervous about them being in your home. Having an animal that could pose a risk to a child or young person would prevent you from fostering. For example, certain dog breeds that are banned within the UK.

Yes. We have many single foster carers who have a solid support network of family and friends who offer practical and emotional support when needed. The Olive Branch Fostering team is also always available to support you, so you will never feel alone when you foster with us. 

Yes. We need diverse foster carers to reflect the diversity of young people coming into care. Sometimes there are young people who cannot be placed with a particular gender so same-sex foster carers can make a particularly good match. 

Could you open your heart and home to a child who needs a fresh start and a safe space to call home?

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