Who can foster?

Our foster carers say that although challenging at times, it is the most satisfying and worthwhile job they've ever done.

Being a foster carer not only provides a temporary home for a child or young person, it’s also an important role in helping that child to understand what is happening to them, whilst providing them with love and stability at a difficult time in their lives.

You don't need any special qualifications it's your experience and outlook on life that's most important – and we are looking for people who can help make a real, positive difference to a child.
There’s no such thing as the ‘typical’ foster carer. Our carers come from all different backgrounds, with different circumstances and a range of experiences, skills and knowledge.

We welcome applications from people whatever their marital status, sexuality, religious or cultural background and age (over 21).  We’ll give you the training and support so that you can meet the needs of children in care. 

Here’s some useful information about who can foster:

  • You can be single, married, or living with a partner, lesbian, gay, transsexual or bisexual. We’ll expect that everyone in your household is committed to fostering. If you are in a couple, you’ll have lived with your partner for a reasonable period of time.
  • You don't need to have had your own children, but you do need some experience of looking after children or young people.
  • You don't have to own your home, you can be renting, but you'll need a spare room that can be used as a bedroom.
  • You'll not be excluded for having a pet, unless it's a dangerous breed of dog - many children can benefit from living with a family pet.
  • You don’t need any formal qualifications – we’ll provide the training you need to help you develop the skills to foster.
  • You’ll need to be a permanent resident in the UK.

What personal qualities make a good foster carer?

It's important that you can provide a stable, safe, secure and loving environment to a child or young person at what may be a challenging time. You'll need to have patience, understanding and tolerance, as well as plenty of energy!

To become a foster carer you'll need to:

  • Be prepared to cope with potentially challenging behaviour and uncertainty about how the child may develop, as well as helping the child come to terms with any issues they might have.
  • Be able to work as part of a team, with social workers, teachers and other professionals.
  • Be able to work with parents and other family members, as many children return home to their birth families.
  • Be prepared to help those children, who are unable to go home, move on to adoptive parents.
    We know that everyone's situation is different so we'll talk through your personal circumstances to make sure it's the right time for you to foster, and give you and the child every chance to succeed.

We'll always consider your experience, knowledge and skills, and match the needs of the child before placing them with you. 

What else will we need to consider?

  • Being a foster carer can be a full time job, however you can sometimes continue to work and foster, depending on the type of fostering you want to do and the needs of the children in your care. We’ll expect you to demonstrate a suitable work-life balance, and show that you'll have the time and emotional support to meet the needs of a child. If you don't have the time to devote to being a full time foster carer, you might want to consider a short term placement or respite care.
  • If you smoke, we can't place a child under five years old with you, or a child with specific health needs or disabilities.  We'd also expect you not to smoke around children or encourage a child or young person to smoke.
  • Please tell us if you have a criminal record.  Dependent upon the offence and when it occurred, you may still be able to foster.
  • Having a long term health condition or disability won't prevent you from fostering, unless it impacts on your ability to look after the child. We’ll expect you to be in good physical, mental and emotional health.
  • There is also no upper age limit to foster; some people foster well into their 70s. What matters is that you are fit and able to care for any child you are approved to foster.

Now, why not hear from our existing carers about what it’s really like to foster in Wakefield?

​Interested in fostering? Let us know and we'll phone you to talk it through.

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