Can I foster?
Foster carers are needed from a diverse range of backgrounds – with different life experiences, skills and qualities – to help meet the needs of those children and young people in foster care. Most fostering services will look at these common criteria:
- Be at least 21 years-old – although by law you can apply to foster from 18
- Have a spare bedroom big enough for a young person to live in
- Be a full-time resident in the UK, or with leave to remain
- Be able to give the time to care for a child or young person, depending on their needs
As with the adoption process you need to be approved in order to become a foster carer. There are many foster care agencies who could approve you, so it is worth talking to a number of them before settling on the one that suits you best.
You can find agencies that welcome applications from LGBT+ people on our agency finder - available free of charge if you register as a New Family Social Bronze member.
The fostering assessment and approval process
The assessment and approval process takes approximately six months on average. You can find out more about the process from the Fostering Network. You can also read this handy flow diagram from gov.uk.
In Scotland you can contact Fosterline Scotland on 0141 204 1400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with fostering related queries and questions.
Health and Social Care (HSC) Adoption & Fostering answer queries about the fostering approval process in Northern Ireland.