One of the leading questions we get asked at National Fostering Group is whether you can become a foster parent if you have health problems. While it largely depends upon the severity and type of the problem, physical or mental health issues don’t automatically prevent you from becoming one of our valued carers.
Mental health and fostering
Each year in England, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem. Whether it’s depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder or something else, mental health problems have become more recognised in recent years. But can you foster if you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health condition?
While having a mental health issue isn’t automatically going to affect your chances of being accepted, it will depend upon a number of factors. We consider:
- Medications you take to manage your condition
- How long you’ve had the problem
- What type of issue you’re dealing with
- The severity of your condition
It is vital vulnerable children are placed within a safe, secure and loving home. If your mental health issues could affect your ability to provide this, it will affect your chances of being accepted.
However, we do encourage you to contact us to discuss your individual circumstances. The number one thing we care about is that you can provide a stable, loving environment.
Physical health and fostering
As part of the application process, we may require an adult health check done via your doctor. This is so we can determine the current state of your health.
Our main concern is that you are fit enough to look after and meet the needs of the children in your care. Foster carers are generally required to be fit enough to keep up with a child. Conditions such as asthma and diabetes for example, would not usually affect your chances of approval.
As with mental health issues, we assess physical health problems on an individual basis. We will always discuss your situation with you to develop a better understanding of whether you would be a good carer before we make a decision regarding your application. So, if you’re considering becoming a foster carer but are worried you won’t be accepted, please do get in touch so we can discuss your individual circumstances and your future as a foster carer.
You might also be interested in reading Jon’s story about being a foster carer with a disability.
Who can foster?
Overall, providing your mental or physical illness will not compromise your ability to be an excellent carer, you have just as much chance as anybody else to be accepted! We don’t automatically reject an application purely because of an existing or past illness. And we offer excellent foster care training and ongoing support on a local level, throughout your fostering journey, which helps.
Becoming a foster carer is a thorough process but the rules on who can foster might be more flexible than you think. Or you might want to head over to our contact page and fill out our enquiry form for a member of the National Fostering Group to get in touch.