FAQs and Guidelines for fostering

If you think you can foster, it is most likely that you can, but please take note of the following key points. Any point that relates to you will be discussed more fully as part of your initial assessment.

Frequently Asked Questions

I work full-time, can I still foster?

It is possible to foster and keep your job, but someone must be at home and available for the children in your care when needed. For pre-school children and babies this will be at all times. For school age children this will be before and after school and during holiday periods. For older teenagers their care needs may allow greater flexibility in allowing individual carers to work full time. In all cases foster carers must be available to attend fostering meetings and training and promote contact between a child and their family as required. These days lots of employers are fostering friendly employers allowing you additional flexibility during your working hours to meet your fostering expectations.

I have a pet at home, can I still foster?

Foster carers can have pets and some of our carers who do tell us the children they look after enjoy having them around. If you have any pets, because every animal is different, a detailed pet questionnaire may be included as part of the assessment. This will cover things like temperament and behaviour as you consider how your pets and children may live together happily and safely.

Guidelines for fostering

Working and fostering

Fostering services will have their own policy regarding foster carers working, but it is often possible to work part-time particularly if caring for school-age children and depending on the needs and age of children it may be possible to work full-time. Foster carers are expected to be available to care for children, attend meetings, training, support groups, and to promote and support contact between a child and their family. Fostering services would not usually consider it appropriate for a fostered child to be in full-time daycare while their foster carer works, but may consider the use of afterschool clubs and other childcare arrangements for older children.

Not working

You can still foster a child if you are unemployed. Children benefit from having someone to care for them full-time.  As a foster carer you will receive fostering allowances and other payments that will cover the cost of caring for a child or young person.  It is important for foster carers to have stable circumstances and to be able to manage their finances.

Language skills

You need to be able to write and speak English to a level that allows you to communicate with professionals, support children’s education and keep records. If you have any communication needs, we can discuss these with you.

Moving house

It is unlikely we will begin the fostering process if you are moving house, as where you are living and intending to foster children is an important part of your assessment. When you settle in your new home will be the right time to pick up your interest in fostering.

Police records

Only criminal convictions that relate to an offence against children or a sexual offence will prevent people from being able to foster. A criminal Disclosure and a Barring Service Check will be performed.  Let us know about all criminal convictions when you apply.

Smokers

We do not place children under five, or vulnerable children with respiratory, heart or other medical conditions in homes with a smoker. You must be smoke-free for at least a year before we consider an application to foster children under five. We also expect foster carers to abide by our guidelines and minimise a child’s exposure to tobacco smoke.

Spare bedrooms

If you can dedicate a spare bedroom to fostering that allows you to foster a child of any age. If you don’t have a spare room, you can consider fostering a baby or young child until they reach their 3rd birthday. This is provided your own bedroom can comfortably fit a cot in too for the baby or young child to sleep in.

Pets

Foster carers can have pets and some of our carers who do tell us the children they look after enjoy having them around. If you have any pets, because every animal is different, a detailed pet questionnaire may be included as part of the assessment. This will cover things like temperament and behaviour as you consider how your pets and children may live together happily and safely.

Privacy notice | Terms of use

Enfield Council logo