Fostering myth busting

Myth 1: I’d love to foster but I’m LGBT

You do not have to be heterosexual to foster. 

Your sexual orientation is not important to us when we are assessing your ability to provide a safe and loving home to a child or young person. Every looked after child is different, so there needs to be diversity among the foster carer community too. We also welcome people from culturally-diverse backgrounds

Myth 2: I’d love to foster but I’m religious

A large proportion of Worcestershire Children First foster carers have a faith background. Being religious will not prevent you from fostering, provided you can meet the needs of any children you look after.

It is also very important that foster carers honour the religion of any children they look after and facilitate anything that comes as part of this. 

Myth 3: I’d love to foster but I work

Some of our foster carers work part-time/flexibly and are still able to consider the needs of the children in their care by being able to balance work and getting the children to school, after-school clubs meetings, caring for them when they are off school and also at the weekends and evenings. 

Myth 4: I’d love to foster but I have a dog

Having pets does not prevent you from fostering; in fact, they can be an asset to a foster family. 

However, every animal is different and your pets will be assessed as part of the process of becoming a foster carer, taking into account factors such as their temperament and behaviour.

Myth 5: I’d love to foster but I’m too old

There is no upper age limit for foster carers. Being healthy, fit and active will enable you to enjoy the challenges of fostering. 

Being a foster carer is not easy but can make a huge difference to the lives of the children who need it.

The most important factor is that you have the time; commitment and motivation needed to care for children or young people and you have the energy to keep up with them!

Myth 6 I’d love to foster but I’m single

You do not have to be in a relationship to become a foster carer. 

Stability is important as is offering a safe and supportive home.

You may need more support from your family and friends to help to make sure you are meeting the needs of the young person.

We never want you to feel alone during your placement; we are here to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. It can be a daunting prospect, but being a foster carer is one of the most rewarding things you will do. 

Myth 7: I’d love to foster but I don’t have children of my own

Not having children would not stop you becoming a foster carer. 

When we sit down with you during your assessment, we will discuss all the experience you have had with children. 

It could be that you have looked after children within your family or taken part in voluntary work involving children.

It is helpful for fosters carers without children to have some experience of caring for children, whether voluntary or through contact with relatives.

Myth 8: I’d love to foster but I have a criminal record

A police check for everyone over 18 in a household is compulsory during the initial checking process. 

Offences against a child would rule a person out, and violent crime makes it unlikely you could foster. 

However, having a criminal record does not in itself stop you from fostering.

Myth 9: I’d love to foster but I don’t live in a big house

It is important for children and young people coming into the care system to have a space to call their own, so foster carers do need to have a spare bedroom. 

The only exception is if you are fostering a baby as they would usually share a room with a foster carer. 

Around 50% of children who need a foster placement have at least one brother or sister, who should be placed with them - they may be able to share a room with their sibling, but not with other children in the household.

Myth 10: I’d love to foster but I don’t have any qualifications

Our foster carers come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some of them have lots of qualifications, and some of them have none. 

What they all have in common is the desire to learn about fostering, in order to do their best for vulnerable children and young people.

We provide training for everyone prior to being approved as a foster carer, and ongoing training after approval. This covers a wide range of topics and subjects, from first aid and record keeping to managing challenging behaviour and online safety.

Myth 11: I’d love to foster but you can’t choose the age of the children

Worcestershire Children First are responsible for looking after children in care ranging from newborn to teenagers. 

Some of our foster carers look after children of any age, but the vast majority will have a preference for an age range that fits in with their family, working patterns, experience etc. We always take this into account when matching children with foster carers.

Something to be aware of if you’re considering fostering is that fostering agencies rarely place younger children with their carers, whereas Worcestershire Children First does.

Myth 12: I’d love to foster but my own children live at home 

Having your own children is brilliant experience for being a foster carer! It’s definitely not a barrier to you providing a loving, stable home for other children to enjoy.

It usually means that you feel like you’ve made a positive difference to your own children’s lives and want others to experience this too…

You’ll actually find that your own children will help to create that ‘family atmosphere’ that is so important in helping new children to learn to settle

We’ll help you to consider all of the options, especially around age differences

As long as you have a spare bedroom in your home to give a child the space they need, of course you can still foster even if your own children are still at home.