Frequently asked questions

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.