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commonly asked questions: who can foster?

So many myths around who can or can’t foster still exist. In reality, there are very few obstacles that prevents anyone from fostering.

Below are answers to many of the commonly asked questions that people ask around who can foster. Hopefully, this will help to dispel some of the myths and encourage more people to consider becoming foster carers.  

can i still work?

Yes, you have the option to work however it depends on the age of the child or children that come to live with you.

If the child is under the age of five, then at least one person will need to be at home.

If you have children of compulsory school age placed with you then there is no problem with you working, as long as you can demonstrate that you are available to:

  • do school drop offs and pickups
  • attend meetings relating to the child placed with you
  • take any child placed with you to contact with their birth family

You will need to be able to demonstrate flexibility and support for school holidays and if a child is ill or sent home from school.

we have pets. does that matter?

No, many of our foster carers have all kinds of pets. However, any animals that live within the household or within your grounds would form part of your assessment to ensure that they don’t pose any risk to children.

If you have more than three dogs, then we would need to arrange for a dog assessor to come to your house to assess the behaviour of the dogs.

am i still available to go out with friends or go for mini breaks?

Yes, we all need a break from time-to-time. Foster carers should have at least two support networks who they can rely on to help them, whether in an emergency or to give you a chance to meet up with friends or perhaps go away for the weekend. Your support networks can be family or friends. With friends, you will need to know them well, at least two years.

We would need to undertake some background checks on any people you put forward as a support network. This is to check their suitability but we would need to gain their consent first before doing any checks. 

i regularly have guests over my house, is this something that would stop me from fostering?

No, this would not stop you from fostering as long as the foster children are comfortable with the situation. Having familiar faces visit the house regularly can be extremely positive for foster children. It allows them to establish more positive relationships, and gives them consistency, stability and familiarity.

Any frequent visitors or any adult staying overnight (frequently or not) would need to be police checked beforehand.

can i foster if i smoke/vape or drink alcohol?

Yes, you can but all fostering applicants are encouraged to stop smoking/vaping, and we would need to assess the quantity of alcohol consumed and frequency of it. Drinking alcohol should not prevent you from carrying out all the required tasks of a foster carer.

Children under five years old, and those with respiratory problems will not be placed in households with those who smoke/vape. You need to have given up smoking for 12 months by the time your assessment is completed to foster children under the age of five.

All foster carers are expected to comply with Foster Wales Swansea’s smoking policy and applicants will need to demonstrate an ability to do so.

am i able to become a foster parent if i live alone?

Yes! Living alone is not a problem or obstacle. We have many single foster carers, in fact, nearly 30% of our current foster carers are!

will you contact ex-partners? what happens if the relationship didn’t end well?

Yes, we do contact significant ex-partners as part of your assessment. The reason is to solely gather and confirm information about you.

We acknowledge that there will be special circumstances where getting a reference from an ex-partner will be difficult. In these situation, we will assess whether it is appropriate to do so or not.

why do you need to do local authority checks, full address history and references from all employers where i’ve worked?

The reason why all of these checks are necessary is because they allow us to gain more insight into who you are as a person.

These checks will help us gauge if fostering children is right for you.

is there an age when you would be considered too old to foster?

No, age is just a number to us. As long as you are over the age of 18 years, then all that matters is that you are deemed fit to foster and that any health issues don’t prevent you from doing what’s required of a foster carer.

i don’t drive. can i still foster?

Being able to drive is a requirement to become a foster carer. This is because foster carers need to be able to transport children to and from school, take them to family time, and attend meetings around the child.

If you are two-carer household and one of you doesn’t drive, then as long as you can provide evidence that you can fulfil the transportation requirements of a foster carer, then we can proceed with your application.

our home is rented. can we still foster?

Yes, you can! You do not need to own the home that you live in to foster. All that you would need to do is seek permission from your landlord.

get in touch

If you can open your door to a local child or young person and offer them a safe and loving home, then please get in touch for more information or to make an enquiry

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