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What professions make the best foster carers?

Monday 06 December 2021

Certain professions provide skills and experience that can be exceptionally relevant if you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer. We’re going to look at a few job roles that give a good grounding in working within the foster care environment; but, please remember:

  • You don’t need to have worked with children to become a foster carer (though you do need to demonstrate experience of caring for them).
  • You don’t need to have had a ‘professional’ career to become a foster carer (your ability to provide a secure, nurturing home is what we’re looking for).

What makes certain professions suitable for foster care?

It’s the kind of experience you get by working in the public sector, or in another organisation where you work as part of a team to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Also, it’s the kind of experience that is focused on the wellbeing of children and young people. It has prepared you by honing your resilience, commitment and empathy.

In addition, people who have worked in these professions (see below) will already feel comfortable with processes, procedures and philosophies required by a fostering role. They will already:

  • Have experience with administrative requirements like report writing
  • Know how to make the most of collaboration across different teams
  • Have familiarity with the mechanics of the wider support network eg health, education
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of other professionals
  • Be able to comprehend the complex impact of neglect and abuse on children


If you’ve been in any of these roles, you’ll probably also have had previous training in areas useful to being a foster carer, such as special needs, empathy training, diffusing emotional or volatile situations.

While previous courses and qualifications don’t replace foster care training, they will stand you in good stead. We want to help our foster carers be their best in their roles. To this end, we provide excellent training across a range of helpful topics, all free and delivered online and at a venue local to you.

Jobs with transferable skills to foster care

Many of these professions are concerned with the welfare of children in one way or another. However, some are not specific to children.

  • Prison officer
  • Probation officer
  • Paramedic
  • Ex-military
  • Teacher
  • Teaching assistant
  • English as a foreign language teacher
  • Doctor
  • GP
  • Nurse
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Youth protection professional
  • Wellbeing counsellor
  • Social worker
  • Nursery assistant
  • Police officer
  • Tutor
  • Speech therapist
  • Childminder
  • Youth justice worker
  • Youth work professional
  • Special needs coordinator
  • Care worker

Do these professions get fast-tracked?

Not as such. Everyone who applies to become a foster carer has to go through a rigorous application process.

We’re able to fast-track certain applicants if their application is uncomplicated – for example, they have the right paperwork to hand, and they’re able to be flexible and available to immerse themselves in this process.

Having had previous professional experience relative to fostering might be part of this, but not exclusively so.

The fast track fostering application process takes around 8 weeks (2 months). The usual standard time for an application to be a foster carer is around 16 weeks (4 months) or sometimes longer.

The process is the same for each – all the same questions, checks, paperwork and so on. The only difference is that the fast track is condensed into a shorter timeframe.

Can you foster?

Generally speaking, we welcome applications from people of all ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, physical abilities and the LGBT+ community. You can be single, married, a homeowner or a tenant. Your ability to care for and nurture a child is what really matters.

If you have a background in any of the above professions, you might consider foster care as your next role. As well as being able to put your skills and experience to good use, it’s probably the most emotionally rewarding role there is.

You might find our Can I Foster? tool useful if you’ve got more questions. There’s also plenty of information around the site (we recommend starting with Thinking about Fostering).

If you’d like to speak with us or get more information, please enquire using our form – we’ll respond promptly.

Find out if you could be a foster carer
Find out if you could be a foster carer
In a few simple questions, you’ll know if you’re suitable to apply to become a foster carer.