Frequently asked questions
Making the decision to become a foster parent of course comes with many questions, we have tried to answer a few of the main questions here but please do contact us so we can answer your questions in more detail.
Can I foster if I’m a single person?
Yes, you can but your support network will be extremely helpful to you when fostering, so consider what support you have.
Can I foster if I am part of the LGBTQi+ community, single or in a same sex relationship?
Absolutely, your sexuality will never stop you from becoming a Foster Carer, what matters most is your commitment and passion to change the life of a child or young person.
Can I foster a child if I have a dog or pets in the house?
Yes! Dogs, cats, and all sorts of other animals can be a fantastic addition to your foster family.
Can I foster if I don’t own my home?
You MUST have a spare bedroom for a child to call their own but you don’t have to own it!
Can I foster for Wandsworth if I live outside of Wandsworth borough?
Yes, you can, just be aware that if you are looking after school aged children you will need to consider their journey to school and/or the school drop off/pick up. We ask that our carers live no more than one hour from the child or teenagers school.
Will there be training and support?
Yes, you will be invited to a 3 day Skills To Foster training and there is support 24/7 for you and the children or teenagers you are caring for.
Is there is an age limit, can you foster when you are retired?
Yes, you can foster when you retire, one of our current foster carers is 84 years old!
What age do you need to be to be able to foster?
You need to be 25 years old to be able to start fostering.
Do you have to have a driving licence and need to drive?
No, driving and owning a car are not necessary for you to be able to foster.
Do you collect the child from their school?
This will depend on the child’s age, needs, family circumstances. Older children may well be able to get to school and back themselves, younger children will need to be dropped off and collected from school.
Could I foster if I am on benefits?
Yes, you can foster if you are on benefits, we pay foster carers a weekly fee to care for children and pay them an allowance to care for children.
How long does the assessment take?
The assessment should take a minimum of 3 months if you have fostered before, and 6 months if you have not been a foster carer before.
What will I know about my foster child before they arrive?
As with other aspects of foster car, the specifics depend on individual cases. We aim to share as much information about your potential foster child as possible, however in some situations like emergency cases, we only have basic information due to the child having to be moved very quickly.
Can I choose the child I foster?
Ultimately no, but we will always discuss and agree on the types of children who will best fit in with your family and skillset before you start caring for a foster child. During the assessment process, we will work with you to identify strengths and capacity to help ensure a successful foster match.
Can I foster a baby?
You might be able to - babies, children and young people up to the age of 18 can be fostered. Babies and young children tend to be placed for adoption but will be fostered during a transition period (called bridging foster care). You will need to be open to other types of fostering, like toddlers or children of primary school age.
How long will a foster child stay with me?
Fostering can be reasonably flexible. It depends on the foster child’s needs and your choices too. In emergency cases, the foster child may only stay for a night to a week. Other short-term foster care might be a few weeks to a couple of years. If it is the plan that the child cannot return to their parents, they will be placed with permanent foster carers until they turn 18 years. Fostering is intended to be a temporary solution, however a foster child could potentially stay with you for years, if appropriate and you’re happy for them to do so.
Does a foster child need their own room?
Yes, each foster child will need their own bedroom, although babies and toddlers under the age of two years can sleep in the same bedroom as their main carer.
Can I be a foster carer if I work full time?
You can work if you are a foster carer, but there are restrictions. Single foster carers can do part-time flexible work. If you are in a couple, we ask that at least one of you is a stay-at-home carer or a part-time, flexible worker.
Can I be a foster carer if I am retired?
There is no upper age limit to fostering and you can foster if you are retired or semi-retired. Recent figures show that the majority of foster carers are over the age of 50.
Can I be a foster carer if I have a criminal record?
Your ability to care for a child is the most important element in your application. Wandsworth council recognises there are many ways to get a criminal record and we will look at applications and circumstances on an individual basis. All applicants have an enhanced DBS check (we pay for this) and we get information from other relevant organisations too.
What training does Wandsworth offer foster parents?
At Wandsworth, we offer a comprehensive package of expert training that covers the range of topics you will need to develop your knowledge and skills as a foster carer. These range from basic safety and First Aid, to child development, managing challenging behaviour, special education needs and therapeutic childcare.
Courses are available to all our foster carers – completely free and delivered locally and online.
Do I need qualifications to become a foster carer?
No. Other than the introductory training we provide, you will not need any special qualifications.