7 things that can disqualify you from being a foster parent

Posted: Monday 20th September 2021
Blog: Blogs

Did you know...that most people think about fostering for about 5 years before picking up the phone.

“What if they say no?”

I’ve worked in fostering for 15 years and unfortunately I’ve had to say “no” to a few people.

I’ve said “yes” to many more.

And to lots of people who enquire about fostering I’ve said “come back when you are ready”.

And they do.

In this blog, I will tell you 7 things that can disqualify you from being a foster parent.

The 7 things I would usually say “no” to.

Let’s put your mind at ease.

Then, you’ll be ready to pick up the phone to the fostering team and make that call.

1. Violence.

An obvious one really.

Have you been arrested for Assault, GBH, being in a fight?

And importantly, when did this happen, was it recently? What were the circumstances?

If it was in the last couple of years, that will likely be a “no”.

But, we understand that people have a past. Many successful foster carers do.

If it was 20 years ago, you are likely a different person now. Talk to us, it could be a “yes”.

2. Just tell us.

Social workers are amazing at hide and seek. So, it’s not a good idea to hide anything. Or hope we don’t ask about it.

To be a foster carer, we need to know everything about you.

We would much rather you told us. If there’s something you think might affect your fostering application, just tell us. Honestly…we won’t be shocked.

If you’ve not told us, or not willing to talk about it, we might question how open you’ll be when you are fostering.

That could be a “no”.

3. Too busy

Yes you’d love to foster.

And you’d make a great foster carer, but do you have the time?

Are you already in demand from a baby, young children, elderly parents, your job….

That’s a “come back when you’ve got more time”.

4. Spare room

This is a quick one. You need a bedroom for the foster child to have their own space.

No space. Sorry. That’s a “no”.

5. Pets

Whether you're a dog person or cat lover. You can still foster.

When I visit a potential foster carer’s home, I want to see how the pets react to me. How might they react to visitors - especially children.

Most foster children I know, would love a pet.

But, if your “fur-baby” rules the house. If it’s a dangerous animal or a history of biting someone.

That’s a “no”.

6. Healthy

We all like cake. And maybe some wine.

That’s fine.

But if your health (physical or mental health) could mean more instability for a foster child. Or the challenge of fostering could mean a deterioration of your own health. That’s a “no”.

But if you take medication and look after yourself. That’s a “yes”

We need everything to be stable for a few years. So “come back when you are ready”.

7. Do you live here?

We need local homes for foster children to keep them in their community.

We welcome foster carers from all backgrounds, cultures, religions, sexuality, gender and language – but you need to be a resident in the UK.

8. Safe around children

It’s not essential to be a parent, to be a foster parent.

But if you’ve got kids, have you kept them safe?

Experience of supporting a child through challenging times, that’s ideal for us.

But if children in your care have been at risk.

That’s a “no”.


You’re a calm, healthy, stable, flexible, available, open book.

You live in the local area with a spare room and lovely pets.

Perfect. You’re good to go.

The journey to becoming a foster carer might feel like a daunting task, but it’s really not as hard as it seems.

The fostering assessment process and caring for children is a lot of work. That’s true.

But the secret to getting there is one step at a time.

Start by checking this list of 7 things.

You can’t become a foster carer in a day. Start with a phone call or an online enquiry, that takes just a few minutes.

Take a step. One at a time. We’d love to hear from you.

We want to say “yes”.


Fostering is something that pretty much anyone can do, whatever their circumstances. However, there are 7 things that could disqualify you from being a foster carer including violence, risk to children, openness and honesty, spare time, spare bedroom, dangerous pets, health and residency status.