Frequently asked questions:

How old do I have to be to foster?

The minimum age is usually 25 years. However, we like to consider each application on its own individual merit and will consider people who are younger if they are able to demonstrate that they have a lot of experience in working or caring for children and young people.

We are also often asked what is the cut off age for fostering - how old is too old? The answer is that legally there is no upper age limit to foster looked after children and young people. In fact many people come to fostering a little later in life, often after their own children have grown up and left home themselves.

There are some practical considerations for older foster carer applicants (60+ years of age) - in particular, the physical nature of looking after young children as well as being matched for a long term placement (how old you will be when the child reaches 18 is a key factor).

If you are in a relationship, we look for this to have been for a minimum of 2 years. We also welcome applications from people who are single or in same sex relationships.

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Do I have to own my own home?

We recognise that not everyone is in a position to own their own home. If you live in rented accommodation you will need to provide written confirmation from the Landlord/Agency that you can foster in the property.

Foster children require their own bedroom and there should be space for children to play and do their homework. When we meet you at the Initial Visit, we will get you to show us around your home environment.

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Must I have had my own birth children?

No, there is no pre-requisite to have had your own birth children in order to foster. What is key is people’s aptitude to working with and wanting to understand the needs of children and young people.

Through our comprehensive assessment process we look at people’s ability and potential, as well as how they can build upon skills they may already have. During this assessment we look at how the needs of children who are fostered may differ from those within their birth families.

If you have had your own birth children,

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Can I foster if I have children living at home?

Lots of carers have their own children living with them when they decide to foster as a family. Unfortunately, we cannot work with families who have children at home under the age of five years; and in families with children over the age of five, we perform a thorough assessment of their needs and impact fostering may have on them.

During the assessment process we discuss the different types of placements and young people who are referred to Kasper, and the wide range of emotional and behavioural needs of children who are in foster care. We will not place children with our foster carers if we have any identified concerns that your birth children’s needs will be compromised, or if there is insufficient information or lack of clarity and understanding around the referral.

There is also the question of age ranges. Consider the ages of your own children and where another child would fit into your family. At Kasper we look to have at least a two year age difference (both actual and developmental) between birth and foster children. This may limit the age range of children you are able to foster.

Listening is paramount and we listen to the wishes of both our fostered and birth children. Their thoughts will be considered in detail during the assessment process to help us with future matching.

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What checks will you carry out?

As part of the assessment process we will carry out an enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service check as well as checks with local Social Services Departments including all the Local Authorities where you have resided during the previous 10 years, Health and Education departments and the NSPCC. We also take up references from previous partners you have parented with or had a significant relationship with.

Additional references are required from current employers and if you are no longer working, your previous employers if this involved working with vulnerable people.

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What things would prevent me from being a carer?

This list is not exhaustive as there will be occasions where we may have concerns around suitability, but the following areas will give you an insight into conditions that need to be met:

  1. Foster carers have to be available at any time for the children in their care (an applicant with an ongoing full time job commitment would not be considered, unless this would change in the future)
  2. New foster carer applicants must be between 25 years and 65 years old (however we will consider each application on its own merit)
  3. Foster carer couples must have been in their relationship for at least 2 years
  4. Foster children must have their own room
  5. Foster carers must have a telephone, be able to use a computer and have a good level of literacy and numeracy
  6. Foster carers cannot be child minders
  7. Foster carers can only be approved by one agency

Applicants will not be considered if:

  1. Their own children have been on the Child Protection Register or compulsorily removed
  2. They are estranged from their own children and ex partner, with no contact details for either in order for Kasper to obtain a reference
  3. There are any offences against children or if they have been convicted in the last 10 years of any offence involving harm to another person. (No offence committed is ever spent with regard to our checks). This applies to all the members of the household
  4. They have been convicted for drink driving in the last five years
  5. They are experiencing serious financial problems
  6. They are a household with a transient population, i.e. guest home or one that takes students

Applicants are unlikely to be considered if:

  1. There has been a bereavement within the last year
  2. There is a child/children in the house under 5 years of age
  3. There are three or more children in the household
  4. There has been a move of house from another area within the last year
  5. There has been a major health concern within the last year
  6. Their own children have been looked after by the Local Authority
  7. There are more than two dogs

All applicants should have a smoking policy.

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Will I be paid?

Foster Carers receive an allowance for each child that is fostered plus a fee that will be taxable. Read more about Becoming a Carer, Tax and Benefits.

Foster Carers work in a self-employed capacity and therefore only receive a fee payment when a young person is placed with them.

Foster Carers receive 14 days paid respite a year and there is a holiday allowance in addition to the weekly fee.

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How long will children stay with me?

There are different types of fostering - you can read more about the types of placements we make here. We will talk with you in more detail about foster placements when you make an enquiry to foster with us, and again at the Initial Visit. 

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