Fostering FAQs

  1. Are there age restrictions on fostering?
  2. Can you be a foster carer if you live on your own?
  3. Do you have to have children of your own?
  4. How old are the children who need a foster carer?
  5. Do you need to have a spare bedroom?
  6. Do you need to own your own home?
  7. Can you foster if you live in a flat?
  8. What contact would you have with the child’s parents?
  9. Can you go on holiday abroad if you have a foster child?
  10. Can you foster if you are working?
  11. Do you need to earn a certain amount of money to become a foster carer?
  12. Will you get paid if you have no foster children in your home?
  13. Will you have to pay extra tax if you receive money from fostering?
  14. Can you foster if you smoke?
  15. Can you still foster if you have a criminal record?
  16. Can you foster if you have a disability or long-term health problems?
  17. Do you need a childcare qualification?
  18. How long does it take to become an approved foster carer?
  19. Will my spouse or partner need to be assessed too?
  20. What’s the difference between fostering through Falkirk Council and fostering through other foster care providers?

Are there age restrictions on fostering?

You have to be over 21 to foster, but there’s no upper age limit for fostering.


Can you be a foster carer if you live on your own?

Yes. We accept applications from single people or couples, regardless of their gender or sexuality.


Do you have to have children of your own?

No. We accept applications from people who have children of their own and from people who don’t have children of their own.


How old are the children who need a foster carer?

The children who need foster care are all ages. We need carers for babies right through to teenagers.


Do you need to have a spare bedroom?

Yes. Foster children must have their own bedrooms.


Do you need to own your own home?

No. You don’t need to own your own home to foster. However, we will do mortgage or landlord checks.


Can you foster if you live in a flat?

Yes. It doesn't matter if you live in a flat or a house, as long as you have a spare room.


What contact would you have with the child’s parents?

The children you foster may need to maintain regular contact with their family and friends. It may be appropriate for you allow this to happen in your own home. We’d only arrange this if you agree and if it was safe to do so.


Can you go on holiday abroad if you have a foster child?

Yes. You can take a foster child on holiday, as long as we agree. For legal reasons, you’ll not be able to take some children out of the country. This would not prevent you from taking a holiday. We can arrange for respite carers to look after your foster child/children when you’re away.


Can you foster if you are working?

Yes, we accept applications from people who are in full-time or part-time work, or who are unemployed. You will need to be flexible around the needs of the children you care for, which means it could be difficult to foster a child if you have a particularly demanding full-time job. We’ll discuss issues like this during your assessment process.


Do you need to earn a certain amount of money to become a foster carer?

No. Your ability to become a foster carer does not depend on the amount of money you have.


Will you get paid if you have no foster children in your home?

Yes. We pay you a retainer fee. 


Will you have to pay extra tax if you receive money from fostering?

No. Foster carers in the UK do not pay tax on their income from fostering, up to a maximum of £10,000 plus allowances.


Can you foster if you smoke?

Yes, but only if the children you foster are over five years of age or who have a respiratory illness or other risk factors in smoking households.  


Can you still foster if you have a criminal record?

We carry out criminal record checks when we’re assessing if you’re suitable to become a foster carer. Not all criminal convictions will prevent you from fostering. But we won’t consider you if you have a history of sexual offences or cruelty to children.


Can you foster if you have a disability or long-term health problems?

Yes. You must have a medical examination to prove you are fit enough to foster. However, not all illnesses will prevent us from considering you.


Do you need a childcare qualification?

No. We provide all the training you need before you become a foster carer and when you are a foster carer.


How long does it take to become an approved foster carer?

The full process usually takes between 6-12 months.


Will my spouse or partner need to be assessed too?

Yes. If you’re living together, we’ll need to assess you both. You must also be able to show that you’ve had a well-established and stable relationship for at least three years.


What’s the difference between fostering through Falkirk Council and fostering through other foster care providers?

All the children in our care are from the Falkirk area. By fostering through us, you’ll help to keep children in their local community, for example so they are near their own schools and family and friends. This helps to reduce further disruption to their lives.