Who can foster a child?

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.

Am I suitable to foster a child?

As you’re probably aware, we thoroughly assess everyone wanting to become a foster carer. However, there are a few myths surrounding who can foster – and who can’t.

To clarify, National Fostering Group carers come from many walks of life. This is a significant advantage when we are looking for a good match. A broad range of foster carers provides more choice for an equally diverse range of children and young people who are looking for a nurturing home life.

In short, our main concern is your ability to provide the right care for a vulnerable child or young person. We assess your suitability through:

  • Legal and personal references
  • Your ability to work with us as part of a professional team
  • Your health, background and lifestyle
  • Your skills, attitude and personality, including experience of parenting or caring for children
  • Your ability to provide a caring and nurturing environment, including an assessment of your home. Foster children must each have their own bedroom
  • Age – you must be at least 21 to become a foster carer with National Fostering Group
  • Full-time UK residency or permission to remain
  • Availability to the foster child – if you’re single, you’ll need to be at home full-time or have a flexible, part-time job. If you’re a couple, you’ll need to arrange your working hours so one of you is available at all times.
Fast track fostering application

What can I offer a foster child?

The answer to this is surprisingly straightforward, as you have already been preparing for a life as a foster carer without even realising it!

Whether you have raised children yourself or new to caring for a child or teenager, your wealth of life experience and knowledge of what it takes to either raise children or be a child growing up within a caring and supportive household is hugely advantageous.

Many of the children in our care are simply looking for a home where a sense of family togetherness and encouragement to succeed is at the forefront of daily life. Drawing on your own experiences of how your parents or guardians raised you will make the ideal reference point for you to start your fostering adventure together.

If you consider yourself as someone who is patient, understanding and readily able to attend to the specific needs of the children in your care, then you are already on the right path towards becoming a great foster carer.

What makes us special?

When I first met with Steven, he didn’t think he could foster due to his colourful past. However, we established often teens can relate to those that have done similar things and come out the other side - they could become a role model for troubled young people to assist them along the right path.

Stacey, Supervising Social Worker, National Fostering Group

You have skills you can transfer to fostering

You don’t have to have had your own children or even worked with kids to enquire about becoming a foster carer with the National Fostering Group. Your individual skills, talents and life experience means that there will always be children that can benefit greatly from your care.

Previous first-hand experience and insight into caring for a child, including knowing how best to respond to a child’s health and emotional needs, is naturally an advantage. Our carers come from a wide range of professional fields and have been able to transfer these skills to foster care.

If you don’t have your own children or cared for them professionally, it is possible you can draw upon other experiences. Have you ever looked after someone else’s children, even if only for a short time? Do people comment that you are good with young people and they respond well to you?

Remember, if you feel you can foster, you’re not in this on your own. We offer excellent support and training to equip you to become a brilliant foster carer.


There are many challenges that come with fostering and looking after any young person can present difficulties. As an LGBT foster carer, we were worried that we would be subject to prejudice from society. We’re glad to say that we’ve not received any such prejudice and fostering has been the most rewarding, fulfilling journey helped by the support of those around us.

Jason & Michael, National Fostering Group foster carers

Become an advocate for your foster child’s health, wellbeing and education

Our foster carers are passionate in their desire to provide vulnerable children and young people across the UK with everything they need to succeed. This means a safe and stable home where they can live a happy and healthy lifestyle, as well as achieve all that they can from their education.

National Fostering Group’s dedicated local teams are behind you all the way, helping you build incredible futures for young people in our care. They will talk through with you and identify areas for personal development as a foster carer, as well as arranging for any additional support services you require.

Other foster carers in your area will be there to help you out too, with events and support groups – great opportunities to meet other foster carers; sharing stories and offering advice as part of a tight-knit fostering community.

On health matters, if you’re a smoker or you use an e-cigarette, this won’t stop you from becoming a foster carer. However, there are some restrictions around fostering a child if you smoke or vape, which all independent fostering agencies must follow.

When combining your own life experience with our nationally recognised fostering training and support, you will feel empowered to make the decisions required to ensure that the child or children in your care can grow up to become well-rounded adults within their respective communities.

Join over 3,000 happy foster carers