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Fact check: can I foster as a single person?

Foster Carers, Mockingbird, Types of Care,

older blonde woman and young brown haired boy walking along grass with the boy holding a football

There are many myths around foster care, one of them being that a foster family needs to be the traditional family unit and have both a mother and father at home. This isn’t the case with Foster Portsmouth, in fact, single foster parents are highly sought after.


If you’re single and thinking about fostering, please don’t let that stop you. You can make a real difference in a vulnerable child’s life.


We’d recommend having a good support network, and when you join our fostering family you’ll receive support from our dedicated social work team, along with your fellow foster carers.


Am I the right type of person to foster?


We’re looking for foster carers from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and life experiences. Our fostered children are individuals and need different types of families to provide the care, love and support they need.


John, an assessing social worker for Foster Portsmouth, shares his top four qualities for fostering success:


Experience – “We think having experience with children, either through parenting your own or working in a childcare environment, provides a really good base for becoming a successful foster carer. If you don’t have this, we would look for transferrable skills like work experience in a care setting, voluntary work with children, or looking after children for family/friends.”


Resilience – “Understandably, foster children can experience challenges in managing their emotions, so it’s important you’re able to keep calm and supportive.”


Nurturing – “We also look for warmth and openness in our foster carers. To put it simply, all children need love, warmth, friendship, and compassion. The more vulnerable a child is, the more those needs can intensify. Foster children need to know they are respected, cared for, and valued by their foster parent.”


Communication – “Communication is very much a key skill you’ll need to work with children. You’ll be part of a professional team and will need to complete forms, reports, attend meetings and liaise with multiple agencies on behalf of the child placed with you.”

Who can foster?


Aside from the personal qualities that we look for in a foster parent, anyone aged 21+ with a spare bedroom could foster with Foster Portsmouth. No matter what their age, gender, faith, ethnicity, sexuality, marital or work status, or whether they rent or own their own home.


What support do foster carers get?


Of course, being a single parent who fosters can be a little more energy-intensive as you won’t have a partner to talk it all over with – but, because you’ll be part of a strong network of likeminded people, you can lean on them and your social worker for support.


Each child we place is carefully matched with their fostering family. We’re confident that our matching process will ensure the best fit for both you and your fostered child(ren), for stability and security.


Foster Portsmouth also offers the Mockingbird programme, a pioneering support network based scheme, led by The Fostering Network in the UK, highly recommended in the recent Independent Review of Children’s Social Care. We’re looking to expand our existing hub network in the next few months and you could request to be placed within one of the hubs, to alleviate any concerns and provide a different level of support.


Here’s what one of our single foster carers Amanda, part of one of our trailblazing Mockingbird hubs, has to say:


“Being part of the Mockingbird programme has helped me in my fostering journey massively. As a single foster carer, I have no one at home to get advice from or let off steam to. The Mockingbird programme and my hub provide a massive amount of support and camaraderie, and I’ve made lifelong friendships with the other foster carers within my hub.”


Financial support options


Finances are often a source of concern for a single person who leaves the house to work. Becoming a single foster parent may mean your work hours will reduce or change, causing a drop in income. The foster care payments we offer alleviate some of those financial burdens.


Foster care allowances cover the costs of housing, clothing, and feeding a fostered child(ren), as well as incidentals. Additional payments are made for special needs and other specialist foster placements.


View the latest allowances here.


Is being a single parent foster carer an opportunity for you?


Fostering as a single parent is a great way to start a new and rewarding chapter in your life, while caring for children who need your skills, abilities, and love. A single person can become a foster parent, and it’s important to note that you can be a single man, or a single woman – it’s not a gender-specific role.


Are you considering fostering as a single parent? Don’t let the fact that you aren’t the typical two-parent family deter you from taking the first step in your fostering journey. There are many children and young people out there who need a little bit of support within a caring home, to lead a safe and happy life.


There’s no better time than now to change the life of a vulnerable child or young person from the Portsmouth area.


If you are ready to start your fostering journey, or you have further questions, fill out the Foster Portsmouth enquiry form, give us a call on 023 9283 4071 or email us at


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