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Requirements to foster

We know you must have dozens of questions about what it takes to become a foster carer. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on the physical and practical requirements, including your home set up and circumstances.

What type of house do I need to foster?

Foster carers live in all kinds of homes, from large detached houses to two bedroom flats, but it’s important that there is enough space for an additional child or young person to live and grow. As such, you’ll need the physical space to care for a child, such as a spare bedroom in your home. The family as a whole (including a foster child) should fit comfortably into the communal areas of the home.

Do I need a spare bedroom to foster?

Yes, there must be enough bedroom space for all members of the household and a separate bedroom for a potential fostered child or children. We usually see it as appropriate for foster carer’s own children who are male and female to share a bedroom up to their 8th birthday. If your own children are of the same sex, they should have their own bedroom from the age of 13+. There are no concrete rules on this, but there are practice guidelines which protect the interests of birth children as well as any potential foster children. Children under 11 years should be on the same floor as the carer to provide the required night time supervision.

Can my children share bedroom with a foster child?

Your own children can share with a birth sibling but not a foster child. For a number of reasons it is recognised that the sharing of bedrooms can be problematic in the short, medium and long term so it is not generally seen as a good solution.

Can I foster if I’m renting my house?

You can be a foster carer if you rent your home or if you’re a home owner, but being able to provide a home environment that you expect to remain in, in the immediate future, is important, especially for a child who will have already moved home to be placed in your care.

Do I need a driving licence to become a foster parent?

Driving is not essential in order to foster, certainly for those that live in areas with good public transport networks. However, there are a number of meetings and responsibilities involved in caring for children, including school runs for children who may be educated outside of a carer’s immediate area. Being able to drive can make achieving these expectations a lot easier.

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