Who can foster?
Many people know what foster care is, but there are lots of misconceptions around who can become a foster carer and what type of person you have to be.
Every child in care is different. They are all individuals with different personalities, dreams and life experiences. This means we need foster carers from all different backgrounds too so that we can find the perfect match for every young person.
'It’s really important to have unconditional regard for people. Patience is key and you have to be flexible - sometimes your plans for the day can go out the window.'
Foster care requirements
- To live in the West Midlands or the East of England (Essex or Cambridgeshire)
- One or more spare bedrooms;
- Capacity to travel (e.g. a driving licence or willingness to use public transport);
- Some experience with children and young people;
- And the time, commitment and energy to make a difference to a child’s life.
Lots of people worry they are too old to become a foster carer, but there is actually no age limit for foster care. We have St Christopher’s foster carers of all ages, from their twenties to their seventies.
We recognise that older people can bring a lot of life experience to fostering that could come in useful when looking after a child, just as younger foster carers may have a better understanding of the issues facing today’s young people.
Yes! Your marital status has no impact on your fostering application. Some young people are actually better suited to living with only one parent, so we need single foster carers just as much as couples.
Because St Christopher’s is a small fostering agency, it means we can offer extra support that larger organisations can’t give. As a single carer you will need a good support network of family and friends around you to help out, but our team are on hand 24/7 to help with anything else you might need too.
Of course – whether you’re single or in a couple, we encourage applications from the LGBT community. Sometimes a child may feel more comfortable with a gay foster carer as they will have a better understanding of their experiences and the support they need.
Although St Christopher’s was founded as a Christian organisation, we no longer have religious ties. We welcome foster carers from all faiths and backgrounds and use this information to match a child to the right foster family.
Foster parents have to be open to the religious needs of the young person they are caring for, whether it’s by taking them to religious venues or celebrating special events.
We accept transfer applications from existing foster carers. Get in touch with us to find out how the process works.
There is more information about who is eligible to become a carer in our fostering FAQs.
What our foster carers say
If you are part of a couple, one of you will be nominated as the primary foster carer. Our foster carer Keith wants more men to realise they can be foster parents, and that they can take on the primary care-giving role. Read Keith’s story below to find out more.