There isn’t a straightforward ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to the question of "can I foster and work full-time or part-time and be a foster parent?". It depends on a lot of things. But we’ll say, right from the start, that fostering is a 24/7 career.
When a child's in your care, you’re responsible for their safety, wellbeing and development, around-the-clock. For example, you’ll need to be able to drop everything to collect them from school if they’re ill and look after them during illness or school holidays, as well as attend various meetings and training. You'll also need to take them to contact with their birth family.
As the main foster parent and depending on your personal circumstances, you may need to reduce your hours to part-time work, or in some cases give up work completely. Other times, you may be able to continue full-time or part-time work. Everyone is different and we'll speak to you about working and fostering on an individual basis.
Generous fostering allowances
As a foster parent, you’ll receive a generous fostering allowance for each child in your care, as well as other benefits, such as a birthday and religious festivals allowance. Plus, access to hundreds of discounts at some of your favourite shops, restaurants and family experiences.
This package is designed to financially support our foster parents, so they're able to stay home and focus on the needs of the children in their care. However, we also completely understand that everyone's circumstances are different and some may still need to work - particularly if there any gaps between fostering placements when payments won’t be made.
Frequently asked questions
Can I work part-time and foster?
Whether you can work part-time and be a foster parent will depend completely on your personal circumstances - although many of our foster parents have managed to make this work for both them and the children they're caring for.
Some things we'll need to consider include:
- Are you applying to foster as a single applicant or with a partner?
- If with a partner, what's their working arrangements?
- What hours will you work?
- Do you have any close friends or family who would be able to help out in an emergency situation?
- Can you work from home?
- Is your employer flexible?
- Will you be available to care for a child over the summer holidays?
These are the sorts of practical things we'll discuss during an initial call to see whether you'd be able to meet the demands of fostering.
If you're interested in fostering but concerned about whether you'd be able to work part-time and foster, then we always recommend you give us a call and we'll be able to speak to you about this in relation to your own circumstances.
Do I need to have a spare room to foster?
Who can apply to become a foster parent?
Almost anybody can apply to become a foster parent, as long as you meet the following basic criteria:
- You're over 21 years old
- You have a spare bedroom that's permanently available to a child
- You have the legal right to live and work in the UK
- You're passionate about making a life-changing difference to children in care
It doesn't matter if you're single, gay, married or straight and we encourage applicants from all ethnic backgrounds to join our team. The children we care for come from all walks of life and so we want a diverse community of foster parents to meet their needs.
You also don't need any experience or qualifications to apply as we provide you with all the training you need to be confident in your role. Although, you will find that some previous experience with children, either in a professional or personal capacity, is beneficial.
What does the application process involve?
There are a number of stages within the fostering assessment, including:
- Social work visits with an assessing social worker – normally 8-10 visits across several months
- Background checks, including an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service).
- Personal and professional references
- Training to prepare you in your role as a foster parent
All the information gathered throughout the process will be brought together in a Form F report and presented to an independent fostering panel, who will make a recommendation on your suitability to foster.
The process generally takes 4-6 months to complete, however, timescales may vary depending on your personal circumstances.
Got some more questions? Find out the answers here.
Ready to start your fostering journey?
One of our team is available to talk to you over the phone to answer any of your fostering queries.
You can get in touch by filling out our online enquiry form with any queries that you may have.
Your local office
We have local teams covering most of England. Find your local office today.