Below are the answers to the most common questions we receive about fostering. This is of course not an exhaustive list, nor is it everything you could possibly need to know about what it is to be a foster carer. We welcome any and all questions, so if you don’t find the answer you’re looking for on this page, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.
fostering frequently asked questions
How long does the process take?
On average it can take four to six months from your initial enquiry to being approved as a foster parent.
How many children can I foster?
Most families at Channels & Choices are approved to care for 1 or 2 children although we do have some families approved for 3. Your approval would depend on the space in your home as each child would require their own bedroom (unless they are same sex siblings)
Is there an age limit to Foster?
There is no upper age limit for fostering, but you need to be fit enough to care for the children. There is not a defined age at which you can begin fostering but it is important that you have the lift experience and maturity to cope with the responsibility.
Can I foster if I am Single or Gay?
We welcome applications from people who are single, living together, married, divorced or separated, straight or gay. We would suggest that if you’ve only been in a relationship for a short time and are considering fostering as a couple, we’d suggest that you are in a stable situation (living together) for at least 12-18 months before you start the fostering process.
Can I foster if I have a criminal conviction?
A criminal conviction doesn’t automatically rule you out of fostering, but you must declare all the details to us from the outset of your application. An enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be carried out on you and anyone else in the household aged 17 or over. There are certain serious offences and offences against children which would prevent you from fostering.
Can I foster a child if I smoke?
We do accept foster parents that smoke. However, at Channels & Choices we would not approve for you to foster any children under the age of 5 if you or your partner are smokers. The health of the children in your care will always be our priority and if you do smoke it will be a requirement that you do not smoke in your home or in your car.
Do I need qualifications to Foster?
No, qualifications are not required, we will provide training and support during your application and throughout your fostering journey. However it would be useful if you have experience in looking after or working with children.
Do I need to own my own home
No, you can foster if you own or rent a house. Each child will need their own room and a place to play and study.
Am I able to Foster if I am working?
Our requirement at Channels & Choices is that at least one foster parent in the household should be at home on a full time basis. This is to ensure that a child or young person in your care is looked after in the best way possible. If there are any periods whereby you do not have a child in placement we are able to offer work within our therapeutic residential services which is a great way to build the skills and knowledge for working with children who have suffered trauma.
Can I foster if I have my own children?
Yes you can. As a parent it is important to consider the impact of fostering a child as a part of your family. This would be discussed with you in detail at the application stage of the process.