Who can foster

Being a foster parent means caring for a child as part of your family.

To become a foster parent you must:

  • have the right to work in the UK
  • be able to take care of a child or young person, often on a full-time basis

You must also be at least 18 years old, though most foster service providers will require you to be at least 21.

How long you care for the child depends on the type of foster care. It can range from one night to many years, or until the child is an adult.

If you’re already fostering a child, there’s more information about help and support for foster parents.

You may be able to work and foster. Whether you can depends on the child’s circumstances and the fostering service you apply to. This can be your local council or an independent fostering agency.

You do not need to own your home, but usually you’ll need to have a spare bedroom.

Before you can foster, you must pass a fostering assessment to check that you’re able to care for a child.

You do not have a statutory right to time off work to care for foster children.

This guidance applies to England. There’s different fostering guidance if you:

Your responsibilities

If you become a foster parent you’ll need to:

  • care for the child as part of a team - this could include a local authority, schools, health professionals and the child’s birth family
  • keep records and write reports about the foster child
  • attend meetings and advocate for the child
  • help the child manage their behaviour and feelings
  • attend training

Call Fosterline for free to get advice on fostering. You can also read more about fostering on the Fosterline website.

0800 040 7675