People who can foster

There is no typical foster carer. We believe that people from all walks of life make fantastic foster carers. We welcome people from the LGBTQI community, all backgrounds, nationalities, religions, genders and ages.

What we look for in our foster carers

To become a foster carer, you must be over the age of 21. As long as you’re fit and healthy, there is no upper age limit. You do not need any special qualifications, you just need to care about the welfare of young people and have the ability to provide them with stability through difficult times. You can become a foster carer if you do not have your own children but some experience of looking after young people would be helpful.

It’s important that our foster carers:

  • enjoy being with children and young people
  • are patient, understanding and tolerant
  • are reliable and flexible
  • have a mature and responsible attitude
  • have a sense of humour

Fostering can be a full time job and we need foster carers who can give their full attention to the children in their care. Certain types of fostering may be more suitable for you than others but we can help you to decide this.

Other things that we consider

For most types of fostering, you need to have a spare room that can be used as a bedroom.

You do not have to live in Stockport, as long as you’re able to travel a reasonable distance to transport the child to school, supervisions and contact sessions. You do not have to be a homeowner, you can become a foster carer if you rent your home.

We cannot place a child under the age of 5 with a foster carer who smokes. If you're a former smoker, you must be free from smoking for 12 months before you can foster children under the age of 5.

If you have a criminal record, it will not necessarily prevent you from becoming a foster carer. We assess each case individually and take into account the type of offence, when it was committed and how you've lived your life since.

You can still foster if you have a pet. Many children benefit from having an animal to look after.

Combining fostering and other work

Nearly 40% of foster carers combine fostering with other work. Those who do say that a supportive employer can make all the difference, enabling them to balance employment with looking after children.

You can read more in the Fostering Network's report, Combining fostering and other work (PDF, 1.06MB).

You can find more information about the steps to become a foster carer on our fostering journey webpage.

Find information about your fostering journey