‘Can I foster with a mental health or physical disability?’
We’re often asked this question, and the answer is always the same – yes, but it depends on a number of factors.
We’re an inclusive, equal opportunity employer and welcome applications from everyone, provided they’re aged over 21, have a right to live and work in the UK and want to help a vulnerable child fulfil their potential. As we sometimes also provide homes for children with physical disabilities and mental health conditions of their own, it can even be beneficial to have foster carers who have a first-hand insight into their experiences.
That doesn’t mean it’s suitable for everyone. It depends on your own unique individual circumstances and we’ll consider this in detail during the assessment process.
First and foremost, we need to be sure you’ll be able to provide a safe and caring home for a child and provide the levels of support they need and deserve. Just as importantly, we want to be sure that the physical challenges and emotional demands of being a foster carer won’t put you under stress and have a negative effect on your own health. If we’re confident on both counts, then we'd like to hope you have every chance of being approved as a foster carer.
How will I be assessed?
The assessment process to become a foster carer takes several months, covers a lot of ground, and includes in-depth talks with your designated social worker. We’ll get to know you well, and we’ll have a very good idea of whether fostering is suitable for you. At the same time, you’ll understand exactly what’s involved and so can make an informed decision.
An important step towards the end of the process is a medical examination with your GP. This is standard practice, and everyone who applies to become a foster carer has to have this examination. It’s all strictly confidential, and helps us make the right decision for everyone. The things we take into account include your overall health and medical history, the exact nature of your condition and any medications you’re currently taking.
Will fostering affect my benefits?
No - as a foster carer you receive a regular fee and several allowances. You’re also benefit from a number of tax dispensations from HMRC which means that your existing benefits including Disability Living Allowance will be unaffected.
Frequently asked questions
Who can apply to become a foster carer?
Anyone can apply to foster with us. We welcome foster carers from all walks of life; no matter what your gender, age, race or sexual orientation. We do have criteria though:
- You need a spare room
- You need to be over 21
- You need to have British Citizenship or permanent leave to stay in the UK
Do I need any special qualifications or experience to foster?
No, we will give you all the training you need together with ongoing development and support.
I have a disability and I’d like to become a foster carer. Is this possible?
Having a disability won’t necessarily stop you from becoming a foster carer and we consider all our applicants on an individual basis.
I can’t drive, does this mean I can’t foster?
You don’t have to drive but we would require you have a good transport network so you are able to fully meet the needs of the child. Enabling you to carry out duties such as the school run, attend appointments, review meetings, contact with birth parents and anything else required.
Got some more questions?
Find out the answers here.
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.