There are some things you'll need to consider when deciding whether you're ready to foster as a single parent, including;
- Availability – whether you have the time to meet the needs of a child in care, including school runs, meetings and training, and how this may fit in with other work commitments.
Support network – your wider support network outside of ISP and making sure that your immediate family and friends are on board and supportive of your decision to foster.
Financial stability – whether you’ll be financially stable during short periods where you may not be caring for a child and therefore not receiving an income from fostering.
If you're interested in fostering, then we'd always recommend you speak to us - we'll have an informal chat about your personal circumstances, answer any questions and give you all the information you need to make a decision about whether fostering is right for you.
24/7 support for single foster carers
Working with children with complex needs can be extremely rewarding, but we also know it can be challenging at times too, especially as a single foster parent.
Over many years in this specialist field, we’ve developed what we call ‘wrap-around’ care, giving you 24/7 access to expert professional support, including therapists, social workers, fostering advisors and educational experts. You won’t always need it, but it’s good to know that when you do, it’s there.
We also recognise the importance of having regular contact with other foster parents, where you can share experiences and receive guidance and support from others in a similar position. We arrange regular foster parent lunches, reflective groups and events for children and young people, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to spend time with other foster families.
Do I need any experience to become a foster parent?
While experience with children is beneficial, it’s not essential as our preparatory training course will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to care for a child. Plus, with our professional circle of support - including social workers, therapists, fostering advisors, advisory teachers and other foster carers - you’re never more than a phone call away from specialist advice.
Some of our foster parents have previous experience with young people, either through work or bringing up children of their own. Others don’t have any previous experience but hold a strong desire to make a difference.
Do I need a spare bedroom to foster?
Yes, you’ll need to have a spare bedroom to foster a child in the UK - this is set out in the National Minimum Standards for fostering where it states that every child in the foster home over the age of 3 should have their own bedroom.
Can I still work and be a foster parent?
It’s possible to work and foster, however, it’s completely dependent on your personal circumstances and so we always recommend that individuals speak to one of our fostering advisers to understand whether we can make it work.
Some of the things we’ll explore include:
- Are you applying as a single applicant or do you have a partner who can help with the day-to-day fostering duties?
- How many hours you’ll be working while you’re fostering?
- Can your employer be flexible around working hours, annual leave and unexpected meetings or emergencies?
- Are you a home-based worker?
- Are you self-employed?
How old do you have to be to foster?
Foster carers must be at least 21 years old – this is a requirement that’s shared across all fostering services in the UK.
Can you foster if you have pets?
Yes, you can absolutely foster if you have pets – in fact, there are some fantastic therapeutic benefits of having pets in the foster home and we often see great companionship between pets and children in care.
We do have to make sure that pets have a suitable temperament to be around children and visitors in the home so that we can ensure the safety of the young people we place in your care.
Please note, we cannot accept applications from anybody who has a banned breed in the UK, as part of the Dangerous Dog Act.