How old do you have to be to foster


How old do
you have to be
to foster?

There's only one age requirement of any foster parent, anywhere in the UK – and that is that you have to be over 21. There’s no upper age limit to foster either and we have many people who started their careers in fostering later in life.

We’re often asked about how old you have to be to foster a child. The only requirement around age is that you must be over 21 years old to be considered. Aside from that, we care much more about your life experience, health and ability to provide a vulnerable child with a safe, loving home.

We have foster parents of all ages - in fact, our youngest couple, Alarna and Jermayne, were just 26 when they started fostering with us, but we also have people in their 70’s caring for our young people.

Age limit for fostering

Is there an age limit for foster parents?

It’s a common misconception that you have to be under a certain age to foster. However, there really is no maximum age for fostering as long as you are fit and healthy, and have enough energy to meet the needs of children and young people in foster care.

In fact, many people wait until their own children have grown up to start their fostering journey, and so almost half of our foster parents are over 55 years. That’s not to say that you can’t foster while bringing up your own children, as many of our foster families do this too. All applicants will need to complete a medical examination as part of the fostering assessment.

Older people bring many advantages to fostering, including their life experiences and often their own experience with children before, and so have a valuable role to play.

A 2015 survey shows that around 45% of foster carers across the UK were aged between 45 and 54, and another 30% over 55. At Orange Grove, we have older foster parents up to 84, so age really isn’t a barrier at all. All that matters is you have the time, qualities and energy to support the demands of children, and that’s something we’ll evaluate during the application process when you're applying to foster.

How old do you have to be to foster

Fostering as a younger person

A national survey in 2015 showed that only 4% of foster parents were aged under 34 – and that’s a big shame because younger people have a great deal to offer, and they can get a lot out of the role too.

They’re closer to the age of young people, which can be a real advantage, while fostering can open up a rewarding long-term career – with ongoing training, the chance to specialise and a generous financial package, meaning they can truly focus on the children in their care. Few careers can offer such challenges and satisfaction, or the opportunity to learn new skills.

We understand that younger people have many competing demands on their time, but fostering is really worthwhile and we welcome applications from younger people who want to tranform the lives of children in care.

Speak to our team

Whether you’re ready to start your journey or just want to chat to an expert, we're here to talk.

Please make sure you read our terms and conditions because you're agreeing to them by submitting an enquiry. It's also worth reading our privacy policy and cookies policy so you understand how we collect and use your personal data.

Ready to start your fostering journey?

By phone

One of our team is available to talk to you over the phone to answer any of your fostering queries.

0800 369 8513

Live chat

Have a live chat online with one of our dedicated fostering professionals

Chat Now

Your local office

We have local teams covering most of England. Find your local office today.

Find local team