How to become a foster parent (in the UK)

If you're wondering how to become a foster carer, the first step is understanding the requirements. This guide will help you determine if you meet the initial criteria for fostering in the UK. If not, don't worry – there may still be other options available to you.

Can I become a foster carer?

If you think you might be interested in fostering but aren't sure if you are eligible, get in touch with us here at SussexFostering. One of our friendly team members will happily provide more information and help answer any of your questions. Remember that the selection process for carers is diverse, so as long as you meet the fostering criteria there is a good chance we would love to have you on board..

Foster care requirements

To qualify to be a foster parent in the UK, you must:

  • Have a spare bedroom
  • Be in good health
  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have enough time to provide support and care (usually full-time) for a child or young person
  • Be a full time resident of the United Kingdom (or have right to remain).
  • Is fostering right for you?

  • Do you have any current debts or monthly payments?
  • Can you afford to take on fostering?
  • It's helpful if you have some prior experience with children, whether through your personal life or volunteering.
  • Is your home environment safe and orderly enough for a child?
  • Do you have a supportive network of friends and family members who can help in case times get tough?
  • Fostering Myths

    There are some common misunderstandings that sadly often stop people from fostering:

  • Q: Is there an upper age limit for people who want to foster?
  • A: No, but you must be at least 21 years old. What's most important is that you're fit enough to take care of any child.
  • Q: Do fosterers need qualifications?
  • A: You will go through a training process as part of your application where you'll develop the skills needed to foster and meet England's fostering standards.
  • Q: Can you be single and foster?
  • A: Yes, you can. However, you will need to show that you have a supportive network of people and financial security in order to support a foster child.
  • Q: Can your religion or sexual orientation prevent you from fostering?
  • A: No. Any religion or sexual orientation is welcome in fostering.
  • Q: Do you have to be a homeowner?
  • A :No, but you do need to provide consistency for a young person or child living in your home.
  • The foster care process in a nutshell

    We've broken down our 7-step process to becoming a foster carer:
    1. Complete an initial enquiry – By completing an online form, requesting a call back or requesting an information pack, you can start your fostering journey with us.
    2. Schedule a home visit – We will meet you and your family either at your family home or via video chat so that we can get to know you better and answer any questions you may have.
    3. Starting the assessment – Once you have completed an application form, you will be assigned a social worker to help guide you through the process. At this stage, you and your social worker will work together to complete a Form F Assessment.
    4. Skills to foster – We provide foster care training in the shape of our ‘Skills To Foster’ course which covers essential knowledge and skills needed for success as a foster carer.
    5. Going to panel – Final checks are then carried out by our fostering panel before your recommendation to become a foster carer is made.
    6. Your placement – Congratulations! You’re now an approved foster carer and ready for a placement!

    Considering getting in to foster care? Learn more about what the process entails and how much you could get paid. Our team of experts at SussexFostering are here and are ready to answer any questions you may have!