I put my heart and soul into it. You treat them like your own children. If you care, of course it’s going to be upsetting when they go. You try to get it clear what you are there for and soon another child will need your help. I love it, I love my job - Kim, Foster Carer
You can be single, married, civil partners, divorced or living with a partner. If you are in a relationship, you must be together for 2 years or more. You can be of any sexual orientation.
You will need time to attend training courses, meetings and collect children from school or regular free time at weekends and school holidays. You can continue to work part time or full time. One person must be at home during the day when caring for children under age five or on a specialist scheme.
You must look after your own health. Children under the age of five years old will not be placed with anyone who smokes. You won’t be ruled out if you are overweight or have an illness, but you must be healthy enough to provide a caring stable home.
You must be old enough to act as an appropriate parental figure, but there is no upper age limit.
You must have a spare bedroom. We don't recommend that looked-after children share a bedroom with your own children.
You must agree to police checks and be free of any convictions of violence or sexual abuse and have no convictions against children.
You will need determination for the good times and bad, and a sense of humour.
You will need energy to involve children in activities. We ask foster carers to encourage children to have an active lifestyle and healthy eating.
When we ask young people in foster care, "what makes a good foster carer?" The most important thing they say is that you listen to them.
It is important that everyone is keen on the idea of fostering as it involves your whole family. We would recommend that you involve your household members early in the process.
This may feel like a very intrusive process, but by the end of this we will have a very clear picture of your needs as well as the needs of the children in care. This will help us to match you together successfully.