Is there an age limit on fostering?

One of the main questions we get asked is whether there’s an age limit on who can foster. There are a lot of misconceptions relating to what makes a good foster carer and, unfortunately, one of the main ones is the age you need to be in order to get accepted. Many people think they’re too old or too young to foster a child. So, is there an age limit that could prevent you becoming a foster parent?

Understanding age requirements

There is only one age restriction that applies for people wanting to foster. All applicants need to be at least 21 years of age, though legally the minimum age is 18. Anybody over the age of 21 can apply – there is no upper age limit.

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You may be surprised – a study carried out in 2015 showed:

  • An estimated 30% of foster carers surveyed were over the age of 55.
  • The majority (45%) were aged 45-54.
  • What was most surprising was that just 4% of carers were aged 20-34.

These figures are encouraging for older people thinking of fostering. However they also highlight a potentially worrying problem. As featured on The Fostering Network, there is a desperate need for younger carers to come forward.

With the majority of carers being over the age of 50, many will be considering retiring over the next 10-15 years. This would leave a huge shortage of carers, particularly seeing as though new changes in the law allow children to stay with their foster families up until the age of 21.

Foster carers must be 21 years old

With this in mind, new foster carers in their 20s, 30s and 40s are encouraged to apply. Of course, we need applicants of all ages and backgrounds.

As long as you are 21 years of age, we’d love to hear from you.

So if you thought you were too old or too young to foster, the chances are you couldn’t be more wrong. We care more about your experience with children and your ability to provide a loving and safe home to potentially vulnerable children.

Our carers come from diverse backgrounds so if you feel you’d be a great carer, contact us now. Don’t let age put you off applying; more often than not it won’t affect your chances of getting accepted.

We’ve got plenty of information about who can foster, or get in touch for a call back from your local NFA Fostering Group office.


Start your fostering journey with National Fostering Group

  • We have fostering agencies all across the UK
  • Over 3,000 carers already part of our family
  • Benefit from our local support groups and social workers