Who can foster?

At Barnardo’s, we welcome prospective foster carers from all walks of life.

Our foster carers are from various backgrounds, nationalities, religions and ages. And whether you are single or married, male or female, a homeowner or renting, straight, lesbian, gay, trans or bisexual, it doesn't matter. We believe you can be a foster carer and so should you.

You do, however, need to meet a few minimum criteria to be considered. You must:

  • be over the age of 21,
  • have a spare room at home: this could be a spare bedroom, or a room you’re not currently using as a bedroom, such as a study.

If you decide to apply to become a foster carer, we will also consider:

Your health – as part of the fostering process, your medical health will be checked. Not all disabilities or medical conditions will stop you from fostering.

If you have children – we will discuss with you how you’ll meet the needs of a foster child as well as your existing children.

If you have a partner – your relationship will be assessed to make sure a child will be placed in a stable home.

If you smoke – it is unlikely that a young child will be placed in a home where there are smokers due to the significant health risks of smoking and passive smoking.

Your criminal record - as part of the fostering process we will do a police check. Not all criminal convictions will stop you from fostering, but people with a history of sexual offences and/or cruelty to children will not be considered.

Your finances – you will receive a fostering allowance, this will cover food, clothing, travel expenses, household expenses and gifts. As a carer you will also receive a professional fee from Barnardo’s. State pensions may be available for foster carers.