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Who can foster?

If you want to become a foster carer, you need to meet our eligibility criteria.

Deciding if fostering is right for you

If you want to foster, it’s important you have the time and space in your life for a child who may be vulnerable. You need to show that you have the skills to care for children and the understanding to meet their needs. We need foster carers from every community and every type of background. At the moment, we are looking for more foster carers who can look after:

  • white children

  • unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

  • teenagers

  • larger family groups.

Eligibility criteria


You need to have experience of caring for children.


  • You can foster if you are 21 or older.

  • There is no upper age limit.

  • You need to be fit and healthy enough to cope with the responsibilities and demands of fostering.

Your home

You don’t need to own your home, but you do need to:

  • offer a safe and secure environment

  • have enough room for a foster child.

Your job

You can still foster if you work full time, so long as your working hours are flexible enough to meet the demands of fostering, including:

  • taking children to and from school

  • going to meetings at short notice

  • supervising contact with the child’s birth family.


If you smoke you can’t foster babies and children under five. If you foster children over five, you should smoke outside so children and young people living with you don’t breath in passive smoke.

Disabilities and health problems

  • If you have a disability or health problem, we need to discuss your circumstances when you apply.

  • Anyone who applies to be a foster care will have a medical exam.We will give you advice about the effects your health problem or disability could have on a child.

  • We need to consider if your condition would put you or a child at risk.


You can still to apply to foster if you get benefits.

Who can’t foster

It is unlikely that we will consider you as a foster carer if:

  • you are expecting a child, have a child under a year old or are having fertility treatment

  • you have serious financial problems

  • you have a child of your own being looked after by a local authority

  • you are a couple who have been in a present relationship for less than a year

  • you, or anyone you live with, have a serious criminal conviction.

If you are eligible

If you want to be a foster carer, you need to:

  • go through an assessment process

  • go to a three-day training course.

Apply to become a foster carer

If you meet the criteria above and are interested in finding out more about fostering then complete our enquiry form and we will get back in touch with you.