Two mums and their child sat at a table colouring together, all smiling

Who can foster?

There’s a good chance you can.  

There are so many things about you and your personality that will make you a great foster carer, but there are a few practical things you need too. You can foster if you:   

  • are aged 21 or over  

  • have a spare bedroom big enough for a child or young person            

  • are a full-time resident in the UK or have the right to work in the UK 

  • have the time to give a child, young person or family the care they deserve 

If you want to give a child or young person a loving home where they can thrive, we're here to help.    

Foster carers can change your life for the better and they maybe don’t realise to what extent. It’s the simple things in life that so many people maybe take for granted – that it’s nice to come into the house and it’s clean and tidy, there’s dinner every night


Child and Youth Care Worker, formerly fostered through Barnardo’s    

It doesn’t matter what your religious or cultural background is, whether you're single, married, divorced, in a civil partnership, a homeowner or renting, you have the potential to foster.   

What's most important is that you are caring, patient, understanding and can offer the children and young people in your care a positive and loving environment.   

Our carers come from a variety of backgrounds and have all sorts of life experiences, skills and qualities which helps meet the different needs of children and young people needing a foster home. 

You don’t need special qualifications or childcare experience. We’ll provide on-going support and training programmes to develop your skills and fostering knowledge.   

It doesn’t matter if you’re a single parent, or if you don’t own a home; with fostering there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. Brian and I are just normal people helping a few children find their way. I say if you’re still fit and healthy, what are you waiting for?


Foster carer with Barnardo's

Can I foster if I’m part of the LGBT+ community? 

Yes you can. We have supported LGBT+ foster carers for many years and would love you to join them. We believe that if we have a diverse group of foster carers, we can better match children and young people to their perfect home. 

Read about the experiences of foster carers from the LGBT+ community

Can I foster if I already have children living at home? 

You can. As part of the application and assessment process, a Barnardo’s social worker will meet with the children in your family to discuss their thoughts and feelings before you start fostering. If, as a family, you pursue your application to foster, we will work hard to ensure an appropriate match between a fostered child and your own family. Your child’s experience will be reviewed regularly, and support will be offered to ensure that their experience of fostering is a happy and positive one. 

Still not convinced you’d be allowed to be a foster carer? 

People often rule themselves out of fostering, thinking they wouldn't be welcome. If you have a concern our fostering frequently asked questions (FAQ) page may help. 

A woman cuddles two small children

Become a foster carer 

Ready to start your journey to becoming a foster carer? We’d love to speak to you. Get in touch and your local fostering service will talk you through the next steps. 

A woman wearing a Barnardo's lanyard laughing with a teenage girl

The steps to becoming a foster carer 

People can feel intimidated by the process of becoming a foster carer and worry that it will take a long time or mean being asked lots of difficult questions. Read more about what you can expect. 

A man and teenage boy fixing a bike together

Why foster with us?  

When you foster with us, we are with you every step of the way. You’ll get a dedicated support worker, expert training, competitive financial support and a lovely member of our team at the end of the phone on our round-the-clock helpline ready to help you, any time of day or night. 

A man sitting on a hotel balcony

"They always supported what I wanted to do and achieve."

Jamie was first fostered through our services when he was 12 years old. Read how 10 years of love and support from foster carers helped him become who he is today.

A couple sitting on a sofa smiling

“He loved to sing, and won a role in the school musical. We sat on the front row both nights".

Brian and Jean never imagined spending their retirement years being 'mum and dad' for an entirely new family, but now they wouldn't have it any other way.