Frequently Asked Questions
We often find that people ask the same questions, that’s why we’ve listed many of the questions here, but if you can’t find the answer you need just give us a call, we’re always happy to talk it through with you.
Why does Staffordshire County Council need foster carers?
Children are sometimes removed from their family to protect them from abuse or neglect. Occasionally parents require care for their children because of illness, family breakdown or behavioural difficulties.
Because we know that most children do better in families than in children’s homes we’ve put together a great support package for foster carers, so that you can give children the stable home that they need fully supported by us.
What age will the children be?
We are responsible for looking after children from birth to eighteen years old. The age of the children you care for will depend on your own skills, experience and preference.
Can I foster more than one child?
Often we’re responsible for a group of siblings and where we can, we like to place these children with their brother and sisters, so it’s great if you can offer the space and time to care for more than one child and keep them together.
I've never had children, can I foster?
Yes you can foster, you do not need to have had children of your own. Although it does help to have some experience of working with or caring for children.
I've got a disability, can I be a foster carer?
Yes, you can foster. All potential foster carers have a full medical examination to make sure that they can provide the care our children need.
Can I foster if I work?
Whether you are employed or unemployed we need to know that you’re financially secure and can provide a stable home. If you work we would need to make sure that your work commitments were flexible and you could meet the needs of the child.
We're not married – can we foster?
Yes, if you can offer a stable home and care for a child you do not need to be married.
Can I smoke and foster?
You can smoke and foster but to safeguard a child’s health, we won't place a child under the age of 5 within a household where somebody smokes. If you decide to give up smoking you must have given up for a period of at least 6 months prior to applying to becoming a foster carer. If you smoke e-cigarettes Staffordshire County Council will not see this as a reason to preclude you as a potential foster carer, purely on this basis. Your use of e-cigarettes will be assessed in the initial visit, as well as during the full prospective fostering assessment.
I'm single can I foster?
Yes, if you can offer a stable home and care for a child you do not need to be in a relationship.
Is there an age limit to apply to become a foster carer?
You have to be 21 to apply to become a foster carer and there’s no upper age limit. A reasonable level of maturity and life experience is welcomed.
Do I need specific qualifications or experience?
You don’t need any particular qualifications or fostering experience. Although it does help to have some experience of working with or caring for children.
Do I need a spare bedroom to foster?
Most children will need a bedroom of their own and so you do need a spare bedroom to be able to foster for Staffordshire County Council.
If I am gay or lesbian can I still foster?
Yes, of course we treat everyone equally and currently have children being cared for by both gay and lesbian foster carers.
If I have a criminal record can I still foster?
There are some criminal offences that would prevent you from becoming a foster carer. All offences are looked at and the circumstances of the offence are taken into account when considering your application.
I don't drive; can I be a foster carer?
It would not prevent you from being a foster carer if you were unable to drive.
I have a dog, can I still apply to foster?
Generally having a dog does not mean you cannot apply to be a foster carer. However the dog would form part of your assessment.
I don't own my house, can I be a foster carer?
It doesn’t matter whether you own or rent your house, you can still apply to foster.
How long does it take to be approved?
We aim to complete your assessment within six months from the time that we receive your formal application, after attending the Skills to Foster course.
Will I be paid?
You will get an allowance for caring for a child. Currently between £115 and £631 per week. We also recognise and financially reward carers who go on to further develop their skills.
Do I need special skills?
You need to be able to show us that you can do the following
- provide a safe, caring home and have the time, patience and commitment to give to a child.
- understand the needs of a child who has been separated from their family.
- work as part of a team
- ask for support and use it
- be prepared to learn.
What happens next?
More about the different stages you go through to become a foster carer are on our 'your fostering journey page'.