Can you foster a child if you have a dog?
Yes, it's absolutely possible to foster if you have a dog - in fact, they can often bring a sense of calm, companionship and loyalty to a young person in care.
Many of the children and young people we work with can often find it difficult to trust and form positive attachments with adults due to various placement moves, and so having a pet can often help them settle into their new environment much faster.
As part of the fostering assessment, we'll simply assess any pets in the home to make sure their temperament is right for fostering and that they're comfortable around children and young people. We may also speak to your vet to make sure that the dog has been well cared for.
Unfortunately, we would not be able to consider you if you have a dog that is banned by law as part of the Dangerous Dog Act, such as;
- Pit Bull Terriers
- Japanese Tosa
- Dogo Argentines
- Fila Brazillieros
Matching a child with you and your dog
Finding the right child for you and your family is our priority, and so your dog or pet will also be a key part of this process to make sure that everyone has an enjoyable fostering experience - including your furry friend.
So there may be times when we decide it's best not to place a child with you, for example, if they're afraid of dogs or have caused harm to an animal in the past.
Who can apply to become a foster parent?
We welcome individuals from all walks of life to join our team of foster parents. You can be:
- Male or female;
- Single, married, divorced, co-habiting;
- Straight, gay, bisexual or transgender;
- From any ethnic group or religion;
- Any age over 21 – so long as you’re fit and healthy, and able to meet the needs of a child in care.
Of course, you’ll need to meet the initial criteria to foster, which are that you’re over 21 years old, have the legal right to work in the UK and have a spare bedroom that’s always available for a child in care.
How do I apply to be a foster parent?
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to apply to become an ISP foster carer:
- Take your first step – simply complete our online enquiry form or give us a call on 0800 0857 989.
- Initial call – we’ll give you a call, so you can learn more about fostering, the children we work with and the wrap around support we provide to our foster parents, plus answer any of your questions. If you’re ready to move forward, we’ll ask you a few questions and arrange a home visit.
- Home visit – one of our team will visit you at home, where we’ll spend more time getting to know you and vice versa. The visits tend to last between 1-2 hours and are a fantastic opportunity for you to find out everything you need to know to decide whether fostering is right for you. These can also be completed virtually via a video call.
- Apply to foster – you’ll need to complete an application form to be considered to become a foster parent. If successful, you’ll be allocated an independent assessing social worker, who start your fostering assessment. The application form can be completed online or via a hard copy that we can send to you.
Once your application has been approved, you’ll start your fostering assessment which generally takes around 4-6 months to complete.
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 carer.
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.