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Who Can Foster Care? Answering Common Eligibility Questions

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Foster carers come in all shapes and sizes, from all types of backgrounds and of all ages, united by a common desire to help meet the needs of children and young people in the foster system.

In many cases, foster care training is available so the most important part is to have the ability to accommodate a child or young person in your home and in your life.

The core criteria required to be eligible for foster care is that you are:

  • A UK resident with indefinite leave to remain,
  • At least 18 years old (although in most cases you will need to be 21 for care continuity reasons),
  • In possession of a spare bedroom large enough for a young person,
  • Have the time to give to a child or young person on a full-time basis.

These are the only required criteria to make you eligible to be a foster carer, although there will be some factors that will affect your suitability with certain children and young people or highlight your ability to take care of children who have sometimes had difficult starts to their life.

These include:

  • Ensuring your home is suitable and safe for a child, including garden space, enough room to move around and the local area.
  • Your support network; do you have friends or family that can help you in your foster journey?
  • Any experience taking care of children and young people, although you do not have to have children of your own to foster. This can include volunteer work, your job or helping with other members of your family
  • Your situation, ensuring that you have the means to give foster children the best possible life and future.
  • Your health and ability to foster for the foreseeable future.