Do I need a spare room to foster?

For safeguarding reasons, foster children aren’t usually allowed to share a bedroom with anyone else unless they’re brothers and sisters, and even then only up until the age of ten and agreed by the local authority prior. So although you don’t need to own your home to be a foster carer, you do need a spare room for each child you look after.

Having a spare bedroom is a legal requirement to meet national minimum standards, and it needs to be safe, secure and big enough for a single bed, wardrobe, bedside table and chair as well as somewhere for their clothes and belongings, such as cupboards or a chest of drawers.

These are the minimum, but you can add other items to make the foster child's bedroom even more comfortable and welcoming for when the child arrives! In fact, many foster carers take real pride in turning around a room into something special and preparing a bedroom, because they know exactly how important it is to create the perfect space for the foster child to feel safe and comfortable.

Think about the foster child and their thoughts and feelings on stepping into a strange home. They may already have experienced several foster homes and be going through a very tough time. They might be anxious or frightened or lack confidence. Having somewhere that’s specially for them, surrounded by their belongings, that they can escape into and close the door behind them, gives them a special ‘safe’ place that can provide comfort and help them find their feet and adapt.  It’s also a place they can study, play and explore their creativity.

foster care bedroom

Benefits of having a
spare room

As well as being a legal safeguarding requirement, a room of their own has practical advantages too. It also helps foster carers and their families. For example, you won’t all be living in the same space all the time, and there’s room to literally cool-off. Foster care bedrooms have an important part to play in setting boundaries and routines which can really help children learn, grow and develop. And that’s why it’s worth going out of your way to make the room as special as it can be.

There’s a lot that you can do to make the room feel cosy without spending too much money, even if it’s just a few posters of the child’s favourite sports stars or singers. Other ideas include ‘upcycling’ furniture with bright colours and paint, or adding extra features including bookshelves or desks. And if you can involve your foster child with all this, even better. It’s a great chance to get to know each other, and it shows you’re thinking of them.

Read some useful hints and tips on preparing your home for a foster child in our blog, here.

What next?

Take a look at the fostering process, get in touch or read through our FAQs if you are still unsure if you can foster.

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.

Learn more about the fostering process.

Can a foster child share a bedroom?

No, every child and young person requires their own space, regardless of whether they’ve been raised in foster care.

A bedroom is a space in which children and young people can call theirs, giving them the much needed opportunity to play, discover, be imaginative and creative all without excessive disruptions.  Some children who fostered may be troubled from previous experiences so providing a bedroom for them will help them to process events from their life and give them a place for time to reflect and think.  Somewhere they can feel calm and relaxed.

Can you foster if you have pets?

Yes of course, pets are part of your family too. Animals can help children to relax and settle into a new home, but we do need to make sure there is no risk involved. As part of your assessment, we’ll complete a pet questionnaire to help us determine whether your pet is safe to be around foster children.  We cannot accept applications from anybody who has a banned breed in the UK, as part of the Dangerous Dog Act.

More FAQs

Got some more questions?
Find out the answers here.

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

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