Fostering questions and answers

Fostering questions and answers

Questions we often get asked

Who can become a carer

People who foster for Worcestershire Children First Fostering are all different. To become a foster carer for us;

  • you need to be over 21
  • can be married, single or in a partnership, including a same sex relationship
  • be of any ethnicity
  • be employed, self-employed, out of work or retired
  • you can be religious or non-religious
  • may be a person with disabilities
  • living in your own home or rented accommodation, but must have a spare bedroom available
  • have enough time to provide support and care to a child or young person

Do I have to have a spare room?

Children in foster care do need to have their own room so creating space for this needs to be considered. 

Part of the assessment will be to consider your accommodation and a spare bedroom will be necessary when the child is ready to move in, therefore you need to consider how you can facilitate this in your home. 

There is one exception to this if the child you are caring for is a baby under the age of two. In this situation the baby is able to sleep within the foster carers bedroom until they reach two years old as a maximum age.

I am in my 50s, am I too old to foster?

The youngest age at which you can foster is 21: this is a statutory requirement within the Fostering Regulations. There is no upper age limit, you are required to complete a medical and receive a declaration of ‘fit to foster’ to be considered suitable.

Can I foster if I live in rented accommodation?

You can foster whether you are renting or own your own home. If you are living in a rental property you need to provide permission from the property owner that they agree for you to foster within their property. 

During the enquiry stages a member of the team will visit you in your home and will assess suitability and safety of the property at this point.

I’m not married can I foster?

You can foster whether you are single, living with a partner or divorced. Previous partners were applicable will be contacted during a fostering assessment, if you have previously been in a relationship where you have parented together with a partner, we would seek a reference if suitable. 

Can I foster if I smoke?

Worcestershire Children First Fostering policy currently states that children under 5 years old or a child of any age with a disability, heart disease, glue ear or respiratory problems such as asthma will not be matched with a foster carer who smokes/vapes. 

Guidelines state that an individual cannot be classed as a non-smoker until they have been given-up for a minimum of 12 months. 

Children older than 5 can be placed in smoking/vaping households, but foster carers are required to smoke outside only.

Can I work and foster at the same time?

A carer would need to be available for school age children if they were ill and during school holidays. Foster carers will need to participate in meetings with social workers, attend training for their own development as well as other groups and events for additional support and networking opportunities. 

These typically take place during normal working hours, therefore, whilst many foster carers continue to work part time, a full-time job would require you to have a flexible employer who understands your commitment to fostering. 

Buddy fostering maybe compatible with a full-time working arrangement and we can explore this further at enquiry stages. 

Can I foster if I have a criminal conviction?

People with minor convictions can foster a child or children, but much depends on the seriousness of the offence, how long ago the crime was committed and how you have lived your life since. 

People with convictions for violent or sexual offences against children will not be considered as foster carers.

Any person over 18 registered as living at a foster carers address is required to complete a DBS check as per statutory fostering regulations.

What if I decide fostering isn’t for me?

You can withdraw from the assessment process at any point, should you decide that fostering is not for you or your family. 

You can talk through any concerns you have with your fostering assessing social worker. Sometimes you may want to take some time to think things over before you progress to the next stage. 

The assessment process should be an open and honest discussion, so you should feel comfortable asking your social worker questions throughout. 

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