Frequently Asked Questions

We often find that people ask the same questions, that’s why we’ve listed many of the questions we get from carers and prospect carers here.

If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, feel free to give us a call on 0800 169 2061  and we’ll be happy to talk it through with you.

How long does it take to become a foster carer?

We aim to assess you to become a foster carer with Foster for Staffordshire within 20 weeks, however, if you are already fostering this can often be reduced to 16 weeks.

What is a foster parent?

A foster parent is someone that offers children and young people a safe and caring home when they are unable to live with their birth family.

How old do you have to be to be a foster carer?

You have to be 21 years old to apply to become a foster carer and there’s no upper age limit.
A reasonable level of maturity and life experience is welcomed.

Discover more about your eligibility to become a foster carer today.

Can I be a single foster parent?

Yes, if you are single and you can offer a stable home and care for a child you can be a foster parent. You do not need to be in a relationship to be a foster carer.

Discover more about your eligibility to become a foster carer today.

Can I still foster if I’m not married to my partner?

Yes, if you can offer a stable home and care for a child you do not need to be married to become foster parents.

How do I foster a child?

You begin your fostering journey by applying to become a foster carer with Foster for Staffordshire.

You then go through an assessment where we decide if you’re eligible to foster, what level of foster care you should enter at, and what type of fostering you would be best suited to.

After this process is complete you go to a fostering panel, you are approved as a foster carer and you can then have a child come to live with you.

How does foster care work?

Foster carers offer young people and children a caring and safe home whilst they are unable to live with their birth family.

Explore more about how foster care works.

I’m thinking about fostering: Why should I foster?

There are many reasons why you may be thinking about becoming a foster carer, as well as many reasons why you should become a foster carer.

You may care about children and want to help those in need.

Your older children may have flown the nest and you’re looking to use your parental skills to help other children.

You may never have had children but have a parental instinct and want to help children in need.

You may want to have a positive impact on a young life, and help the local Staffordshire community.

If any of the previous statements sound like you, then get in touch with our team and have a chat about becoming a foster carer.

How long can you foster a child for?

Every child who comes into foster care is different – some stay for just a few days or weeks, whilst others can last for months or even years.

Although it’s not always possible to know exactly how long a child will stay with you, we’ll give you as much information as possible before and during the time the child is living with you.

Our guides to the different types of foster care will give you an idea of what to expect.

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 could my foster children be?

You could be 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 keep these children with their brothers 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.

Discover more about your eligibility to become a foster carer today.

I've got a disability, can I be a foster carer?

Yes, you can foster. 

All potential foster carers have a full assessment and also a 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.

Can I smoke and still 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 become a foster carer.

If you smoke e-cigarettes Foster for Staffordshire 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.

Discover more about smoking and foster care.

Do I need specific qualifications or experience to be a foster carer?

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, therefore you do need a spare bedroom to be able to foster with Foster for Staffordshire.

Discover more about your eligibility to become a foster carer today.

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.

Explore more about your eligibility to become a foster carer if you’ve got a criminal record.

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 but you must have good transport links to enable you to take a child to school and/or family time.

I have a dog, can I 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 a child.

Explore more about the details of fostering if you own or rent a house.

Will I be paid as a foster parent?

You will get an allowance for caring for a child, plus additional payments for a childs birthday, before the main school holidays and Christmas or other religious festival. We also recognise and financially reward carers who go on to further develop their skills, so please visit our foster carer payment page for more information.

Do I need special skills to be a foster carer?

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.

Interested in becoming a foster carer?

If you’re interested in becoming a Foster for Staffordshire foster carer, then please get in touch with our team.

Fill in our enquiry form or give our friendly team a call on 0800 169 2061 to begin your fostering journey today.