Who can foster?
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The age at which you can foster depends on the Authority or agency you work with; the minimum age for fostering under UK law is 18 years old. There is no upper age limit but you do need to be fit, healthy and have plenty of energy.
You do not need to be married to become a foster carer. You can be single, divorced or cohabiting. Gender is not a prohibiting factor either. Both men and women can foster. Gay men and women can become foster carers. Other factors, such as whether you have a job or a disability will be considered during your application.
Foster carers are needed from all ethnic origins with varying cultures and languages.
Specific requirements to foster
- You do not need any particular qualifications or education to be a foster carer. However it is beneficial if you have previous experience of caring for or working with children or young people.
- You need to like children and young people, and to be able to communicate well with them. You need to demonstrate an ability to be understanding and patient but to provide firm boundaries when necessary.
- You will need at least one spare room. Children and young people who are fostered cannot share a room with any member of the fostering family. Sometimes they can share with their own brothers or sisters, but usually they will need a room of their own.
- You cannot foster if you have convictions for offences against children. Other criminal history may also affect your ability to foster.