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Why foster?

Choose a category below to quickly find the information you need.

Who can foster

We are looking for foster carers from a wide range of backgrounds as foster children are all individuals and need different types of families. Foster carers come from a diverse range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds which reflect the children and young people who are in care.

We would like to talk to everyone who feels they could meet the needs of Portsmouth children.

Do I need a spare room?

Yes, foster children and young people need their own bedroom although brothers and sisters may be able to share a bedroom.

Do I need previous child care experience

Yes, we are looking for foster carers who have experience of caring for or working with children, either as a parent or in a voluntary or professional capacity. If you do not have any experience why not consider contacting a local school, or youth club like Scouts or Guides to gain experience though volunteering.

Am I too old or too young to foster

You must be over 18 to foster. There is no upper age limit but you do need to be generally fit and healthy. Each application is considered individually.

Can I foster if I work full-time

Yes if the child is school age and you have the flexibility within your family or work arrangements to care for a child before and after school and during school holidays. The level of care needed will depend on the age and needs of the child or young person in your care. A child in foster care will also often have appointments and meetings during the week which foster carers need to attend. If you do work full time and don’t think you could care for a child on a full time basis there are other types of fostering that might be right for you such as respite care or providing Supportive Lodgings to young people over 16.

Can I foster if I am renting my home?

Yes if you have a spare room and the written permission of your landlord.

Can I foster if I have an ongoing health condition or disability?

Yes if you are generally fit and healthy and your condition is well managed and will not affect your ability to care for a child. You will be asked to have a medical examination as part of the fostering assessment and we will take into account the opinion of your GP and the Department’s medical adviser if you are fit and healthy enough to foster.

Can I foster if I smoke?

If you smoke you will not be allowed to foster children aged under five or any child with health conditions or disabilities. You will be expected to smoke outside and away from children to ensure they are not impacted by the harmful effects of passive smoking. This does not apply if you smoke e-cigarettes or vapour cigarettes although the expectation will be that these are also smoked outside and away from children.

Can I foster if I or someone in my household has a criminal conviction or caution?

If you or a member of your household has had a criminal record it will not necessarily stop you from fostering. It depends on what the conviction was for and when the offence was committed, so please discuss your individual circumstances with us. We undertake a check with the Police (known as a Disclosure and Barring Service check) with all our applicants and members of the household over 18 and all criminal records and cautions will be disclosed.

Can I foster if I have pets?

Yes, many of our foster carers have pets and they are an important part of the fostering family enjoyed by the foster children. We consider any pets you have as part of the assessment process. We may ask for an assessment by a dog behaviourist if there are any particular concerns raised regarding any dogs in your home.

Do I need to be able to drive?

No, but as a foster carer you will be expected to attend lots of meetings, appointments and take children to and from school and contact with their family. Therefore, you will need to consider how you would meet the travel requirements of the task.

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