Fostering transforms lives – that’s the theme for this year’s Foster Care Fortnight. We know the amazing work of Diagrama’s foster carers really does make a huge difference to the lives of the children they look after. The impact of offering a vulnerable child a caring and nurturing home environment can be lifelong and fostering is one of the most rewarding roles you will ever have.
We often speak to people who would love to give fostering a try and but are unsure if they have the skills or meet the criteria. Below we’ve tried to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about becoming a foster carer. If you’d like to find out more, come and meet our team at one of our information events, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 802 1910.
As a Diagrama foster carer you’ll not only need the physical space in your home and family life, but also the emotional space. Every child we care for will have suffered an intense trauma at some stage in their life and we need foster carers who are compassionate and dedicated and will help them move forward, positively.
Becoming a foster carer requires flexibility, commitment, patience and a willingness to learn new skills. Do you think you have what it takes to be a foster carer? Then we’d love to hear from you.
Frequently asked questions about becoming a foster carer
What qualifications do I need to foster a child? No formal qualifications are required. If we believe fostering is a good fit for you, we’ll provide the relevant training – for FREE. Your personal development will be ongoing to enable you to provide the best support possible for the children in your care.
Am I too old to foster? Anyone over 21 can apply to become a foster carer and there is no upper age limit – in fact several of our foster carers are aged 60+. However, your age and health may be taken into account when considering the age and needs of the children suitable for placement with you.
Do I need to be married to be a foster carer? No - our foster carers can be single. They can also be married couples, in civil partnerships or unmarried couples (whether heterosexual or same-sex) – the just need to demonstrate your ability to provide a caring and nurturing environment for your foster child.
I am from a minority ethnic background - can I foster? We welcome foster carers from all backgrounds, regardless of race/ethnicity. Local authorities often match children with foster carers from similar backgrounds and there is a high demand for foster carers with BME heritage. While additional languages/cultural experiences always help enrich a child’s experience, we’d need you to be able to speak and write English.
Do you need to be religious to adopt? No, we welcome enquiries from people of any or no religious faith. What is important is that you can promote the child’s religious belief, regardless of your own.
My partner is a smoker, can we still foster? We encourage applicants to be non-smokers. It is Diagrama Fostering’s policy not to place children under the age of five in households where there are people who smoke.
What about my job? Can I still work while fostering? In some circumstances you can foster and continue to work, providing you can balance the needs of your foster child/children with your work. If you foster as a couple, one of you will usually be designated the “main” foster carer and the other could then work in another role. 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. If you plan to work full-time while fostering, you may be more suited to a ‘part-time’ foster care role, such as respite care.
I live in a rented flat – would that stand against my fostering application? No – we only ask that your foster child has their own bedroom and your home has appropriate, adequate and stable accommodation. You do not need to own your own home to become a foster carer.
I had some health problems last year – can I still foster? Providing your health is sufficient now and you have the vigour to manage energetic children then this shouldn’t be a problem. If you have a long-standing or degenerative health condition, the panel may approve you to foster on a short term placement basis (under 2 years). Get in touch (link to contact info) with our team to discuss this in more detail.
I have children already – is that a problem? No! Having your own children is a great way to gain the skills and experience you need to become a foster parent. If your children are still at home their needs will be considered when we’re matching you with foster children and young people. Everyone in your household will play a part in making a difference to your foster children, helping them to feel valued. We organise regular events and activities throughout the year for the whole family to enjoy.
We have a pet dog – will we be allowed to foster? Family pets can be an asset – providing a therapeutic impact on children and young people. However, every animal is different and your pets will be assessed as part of the process of fostering with Diagrama, taking into account their temperament and behaviour. Local authorities will not place a child with a household that has any breed of dog highlighted within the Dangerous Dogs Act.
If you’d like to know more about becoming a foster carer, get in touch and we’ll send you our Foster Care information pack with more details about the process.