Frequently asked questions
All the pages on this site should help to answer your initial questions about fostering but here are a few of the other ones we get asked quite a bit. Please get in touch if you want to know more – we’re very friendly and there’s no such thing as a daft question.
I am single, can I foster?
Yes! We have many foster carers who are single, married, co-habiting and divorced.
Can we foster if our children are living at home?
Yes you can, and often having other children in the home can help foster children relax and settle in quicker.
The needs of your own children will be taken into account when going through the matching process, to ensure everyone's needs can be met. We are often asked 'How will fostering affect my children?' - read the thoughts of a foster carers daughter here.
Are there any age restrictions on who can foster?
As long as you are over 21, there is no upper age limit to who can foster. As long as you are fit and healthy enough to keep up with the children!
What financial support is available?
As a foster carer with Liverpool, you’ll receive a skills-based professional fee, which increases as you gain experience and attend training to develop your skills. You’ll also receive an allowance per foster child to contribute towards day-to-day expenses. Additional benefits of fostering with Liverpool, that help with the expenses of looking after children include, a set up fee of up to £500 per child, council tax exception, free Lifestyles membership and discounts available with membership to Foster Talk and Fostering Network.
Do I need any qualifications?
You don’t need any specific qualifications - your ability and capacity to provide love and care for a child is what matters the most. We provide a wide range of training courses to support your learning on your fostering journey.
Can foster carers have pets?
Yes, in fact many studies have shown that pets can be beneficial for children in care, as they can reduce stress, loneliness and anxiety. Vicky, one of our foster carers told us that their dog was a great icebreaker!
“Benji our dog has helped too! A pet is a great icebreaker. Walking Benji is a great way to get the kids out. They tend to open up more, when we are not talking face to face. Playing with Benji is a great way to relax” - Vicky. Read Vicky's story here.
Does being disabled rule me out of fostering?
Being disabled doesn’t need to be an obstacle to fostering. We work together with carers with disabilities to understand their needs and capabilities as part of the assessment process. Read Alison's inspirational story here.
Is it possible to work and foster?
Yes! It is possible to work part-time and sometimes full-time, as long as your job has enough flexibility to allow you to put the needs of the child first and be available for appointments, training etc.. Respite and short-breaks care are ideal for anyone who would like to foster, but is unable to commit to a long term placement due to limited free time.
If I practice a religion, can I foster?
Yes you can! You can be of any faith or no faith to be a foster carer. We are always looking for a diverse range of foster carers, to meet the diverse needs of the looked after children in Liverpool.
Can I foster as part of the LGBT community
Yes! Foster carers are welcomed whatever their sexual orientation or gender. Read Tina and Ashley's story here.
If I rent my home, can I foster?
Yes! You don't need to own your own home to foster. As long as you have a spare room and you are financially secure.
Can I choose what age children I look after?
We need for foster carers for children of all ages, as well as sibling groups, unaccompanied asylum seeking children, and children with more complex needs.
We approve all our foster carers for children aged 0-18, but you are able to specify a preference based on your individual circumstances, maybe the age of any children already living in your home, and what age you would feel most confident with.
Your preferences are taken in to account throughout the whole process.
Can I still foster if I have a criminal record?
You can’t foster if you or someone in your household has a criminal conviction or caution for a serious sexual offence or an offence against a child or vulnerable person.
Other criminal offences will not automatically exclude you. Spent convictions and minor offences committed a long time ago, depending on what they were and how you’ve lived your life since then, will be looked at individually and taken into consideration during the assessment process.
Can I choose which child I look after?
In Liverpool we have an acute need for foster carers for all ages of children from a wide range of backgrounds. There’s every opportunity during the assessment process to talk to us about what sort of child you’ll be best placed to foster.
You may feel more confident fostering children of a certain age or gender, and your social worker will work with you to help you decide what is best for you. Your preferences will be taken in to account throughout the whole process.
How long does the process take?
The assessment process usually takes between three and six months, but if you need longer to prepare and reflect we are happy to go at your pace too.
The process begins with a social worker meeting you and asking some questions to find out more about you.
The process is very open and we’ll share all the details with you at every stage. Learn more about becoming a foster carer.
I have heard that the process is very intrusive. What type of things will you ask me or look into?
To make sure that all fostered children in Liverpool are in the safest of hands, we carry out checks to make sure that carers, their homes and health are all up to the job.
These checks may include:
- a health and safety inspection of your home
- a health check with a GP or family doctor
- personal and employer references
- checks with the NSPCC and your local authority
- interviews with any adult children you have who live away from your home
- an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau, or Disclosure and Barring Service check for anyone aged over 16 living in the household