Can I be a foster carer?
There are a lot of questions that we often get asked, and a lot of people think that they won't be accepted for a whole range of different reasons.
Not every question has a simple yes or no answer. In many cases we will have to talk to you about your specific details, and between us we can come to a decision about whether fostering is the right thing for you.
Do I need to be married or have a partner?
We are happy to accept single people as foster carers as long as your personal circumstances make this practical.
What if I am gay?
Foster carers can be of any sexual orientation and we consider gay couples to be completely equal to any straight couple in their ability to care for a young person.
Do I need to be earning lots of money?
The allowance we pay should allow you to easily cover the additional costs of looking after a fostered child.
Do I have to live in Croydon?
No - we often have the need for foster carers who live outside the borough, so even if you live some distance away please get in touch to discuss how we might be able to work with you.
Am I too old?
There is no upper age limit for foster carers; however you will need to be physically able to cope with looking after a child.
Am I from the right ethnic background?
Although there will be cases where we may look for a carer of a particular ethnicity we are normally far more interested in things like your experience and capability, your lifestyle and your family circumstances.
Do I need to be a parent already?
You don't have to have had your own children in order to become a foster carer - although it certainly helps if you have had some previous experience of looking after children.
If I have a criminal record, can I foster?
Having a criminal conviction won't necessarily prevent you from becoming a foster carer. We will look at the nature of the offence and talk to you about how this affects your suitability. However do remember that it is important to tell us about any convictions right from the outset, because fostering is based largely on trust, and if you don't disclose a criminal matter voluntarily it is likely to go against you in the final assessment, even if the offence was relatively minor or a long time ago.
Do I have to own my home?
Many people foster whilst living in rented accommodation - but do make sure that you have consent from your landlord or agent?
How big does my home have to be?
You will need sufficient spare bedroom spaces for the children you intend to foster. These should be proper bedrooms as opposed to converted living rooms.
Do I need to be well educated?
We don't assess foster carers based upon their educational record, so this fact alone won't prevent you from being accepted.
Do I need any qualifications?
You don't need any specific qualifications to become a foster carer - however we do provide you with access to a variety of training schemes so that you can develop your professional experience.
Can I keep my existing job and be a foster carer?
Many people work full-time or part-time and also foster a child - however we would need to look carefully at how much time you would be able to dedicate to a child in your care.
What might cause my application to be a foster carer to be rejected?
A criminal record that involves violence or harm to children will prevent you from fostering. However if you withhold information about any criminal history that we subsequently learn about then this may be taken as evidence that we cannot trust you to look after children for whom we are ultimately responsible.
You are also unlikely to be able to foster if your medical or psychiatric history or current state of health gives reasonable cause for concern about your future health prospects, or the child's health or safety. The information is supplied by your GP and decisions are reached with the advice of the Council's Medical Advisor.
If your child or children have been the subject of care proceedings or child protection proceedings that have given cause for concern, or if there have been concerns about your care of children by other agencies or employers then it is likely we will turn down your application. The same applies if your household contains domestic animals that may endanger a child's health or safety of the child or young person - such as those that are on the dangerous dogs list.
If you have experienced a significant life change recently, such as a major bereavement, illness, divorce or separation then we will ask you to defer your application until a later date. We would also ask you to wait until later if you are planning for a new baby.
We'd love to hear from you, use the contact details below to get in touch.