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?

Fostering regulations state that 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 who need your support.

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


We welcome all types of carers, including single and divorced people. Some fostered children actually need 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, it does not matter if you own your home or rent it. Our main requirement is that you have a spare room available. If you do rent, we recommend that you obtain permission to foster from your landlord.

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 they look after.

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


Although your placement options will 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.

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 welcome foster carers of all shapes and sizes who encourage children to lead an active lifestyle and follow a healthy diet. Important health issues are considered during the medical part of the assessment process. If there are serious concerns about your health and/or weight, you might not be able to foster at that particular time.

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

All health concerns will be considered during the medical part of your fostering assessment. We'd talk to your GP to understand how you manage your mental health.

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


We have a diverse mix of foster families, some have younger birth children and others have grown up birth children. Some have lots of children and others have none of their own. There are limitations on the age of children we would place with families who have under 2's.

There is a careful matching process which ensures that 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. Everyone is assessed equally and medical consent from your GP is required. There is a careful matching process which ensures that children are placed with foster carers who can safely meet their needs.