West Berkshire Council

Can I be a Foster Carer?

Find out the answers to your questions!

Whatever your age, ethnicity, sexuality or personal circumstances, fostering could be for you!

1) What do I need to foster?

A spare room and the ability to provide good care for children who are not able to live with their birth parents.

2) Am I too young or too old to be a foster?

Foster carers must be at least 21 years old. There is no upper age limit for foster carers, however you must be fit and well enough to care for children or young people that need your support.

3) I am single or live on my own - do I need a partner to foster?


We have a wide range of foster families, including many successful single foster carers. Some foster children and young people often benefit from the one on one attention a single carer can provide.

4) I live in rented accommodation or don't own my home - can I foster?


As long as your home situation is stable and secure, it does not matter if you own your home or rent it. Our main requirement is that you have a bedroom available solely for fostering. If you do rent, we recommend that you inform your landlord and obtain permission if necessary.

5) I am LGBTQ - can I foster?


All applicants are assessed in the same way. What's important is that foster carers are good role models for the children and young people they look after.

6) I don't drive or have a car - can I foster?


Many foster carers manage successfully without being car owners/car drivers.

However you options may be more limited because you are expected to get children to and from school, and to other appointments.

You will also need to attend meetings and training.

If you do not drive, you will have to use public transport and/or pay for private transport out of your fostering allowance. We will meet the cost of additional/exceptional travelling expenses.

7) I smoke - can I foster?


Smokers are allowed to foster children over the age of five, although we insist on a 'no smoking indoors' policy. Smokers will not be considered for children with medical conditions who could be adversely affected by passive smoking.

8) I am unhealthy/overweight - can I foster?


We have foster carers of all shapes and sizes who encourage children and young people to lead an active lifestyle and follow a healthy diet. Important health issues are considered during the foster carer assessment process. If there are serious concerns about your health and/or weight, you might not be able to foster at that particular time. It's always best to have a preliminary discussion with the Fostering Team - get in touch!

9) I have, or have had mental health issues (including depression or anxiety) - can I foster?

All health concerns will be considered during your fostering assessment. We get information from your GP to find out how you manage/have managed your mental health difficulties.

10) I have a baby/other children - can I foster?


We have a diverse mix of foster families, some have young biological children and others have grown up birth children. Some have lots of children and others have none. We take the ages, stages of development and needs of your own children into account and are guided by you about what would work best.

There is a careful matching process to ensure that foster placements are well considered for all the children involved.

11) I have a disability - can I foster?


We encourage applications from a wide range of people. We are looking for foster carers who can meet the demands of caring for children. The assessment of prospective foster carers takes account of this, including obtaining health information from your GP. There is a careful matching process which ensures that children are placed with foster carers who can safely meet their needs.