Lucy Stevens - 14th October 2022
Many people considering fostering want to know what the basic requirements are. Of course, to be a foster carer, you’ll need a number of qualities and skills in your arsenal. In truth, there is very little that can stop you applying to foster, and we welcome applications from people from all backgrounds with all manner of relevant experience and transferrable skills.
On the practical side however, there is one basic requirement which everyone applying to foster needs to meet and that is that they need to have a spare room permanently available for fostering.
Why do I need to have a spare room to foster?
People often ask why they need a spare room in order to foster. Some see it as an unnecessary barrier to fostering. The truth is that fostering is always a bit of an unknown. Even if you want to foster babies and assume they can share a room with you, we need to plan for the longer term. It could be that a child stays with you far longer than originally estimated. We need to ensure that there is a private, safe and appropriate space for the child to call their own as they grow and develop and as their needs inevitably change. It is by ensuring that we have this space available that we avoid unnecessarily moving children on. Children who have to regularly move experience a compounding sense of loss, trauma and instability. It is this that we at Eastern Fostering Services want to avoid as much as is humanly possible. We need to be able to demonstrate that carers can commit to children over a period of time and that the childrens’ needs can be met as they grow and mature.
What sort of spare room do I need?
You don’t need to have a palatial suite! Nor does the room need to be particularly large. It needs to be clean, well equipped (age appropriate) and to meet the health and safety standards which will be discussed with you during your assessment. You do not need to own your home; you just need to demonstrate that your living arrangements are stable.
The size of your spare room will determine the age and number of children you will be approved for. A larger room could be equipped to accommodate young siblings for example (where it is appropriate for them to share) or children who are in their teens or younger children in need of long-term fostering as well as parent and child fostering. A smaller room might mean you would be more likely to be approved for younger children or shorter-term fostering work such as bridging to adoption.
This would all be discussed with you when we come to visit you at home, and we will work hard to understand what your fostering aspirations are and how we can best support you in those.
I don’t have a spare room, but I want to foster!
If you don’t have a spare room, we respectfully suggest that maybe now isn’t the right time for fostering. Life has a habit of changing and evolving and it could be that one day soon you will be in a better position to commit to fostering. We would suggest you do as much research as possible and come back to us once you are ready. We’ll always be happy to hear from you.
If you do have a room that you feel you could use for fostering, please get in touch with us at email@example.com, complete our contact form, message us on facebook or call us on 01206 299775.