Can I foster?

There's no typical foster carer. Our foster carers are from many different backgrounds. Your personal qualities and what you can offer to a child or young person are what matter to us.

Our recent campaign dispelled some of the common myths about fostering to encourage people to come forward and help local children. With around 20 new children coming into care in Lancashire each week, many individuals or couples who could make great foster carers are sometimes put off by myths and pre-conceived ideas about eligibility.

The following information may help you understand whether you are likely to be eligible to foster. If you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with our Fostering team.


You'll need to be over 21 by the end of your assessment process to be a foster carer but there is no upper age limit.

Your home

It doesn't matter if you are living in your own home or renting.

Spare room

You will need to have a bedroom for the sole use of a child you look after. Children who are being fostered need their own space and privacy. They can share with their brothers or sisters if this is appropriate.


You don't need to be well off to be a foster carer.

We pay our foster carers an allowance to help with costs like clothes, food and pocket money. We also pay extra allowances for birthdays and holidays.

See the benefits and support page for more information.


Whether you work full time, part time or are not in employment, we want to hear from you.

If you work full-time, you must be available to take the child to school and be able to look after them during the school holidays.

If the child isn't old enough to be at school we'll need you to be available to look after the child full-time.

You’ll also need to be able to attend training sessions and some support groups as well as have the time to regularly meet with your social worker.

Some people consider fostering as an alternative to work. This can be possible, but you will need to consider your income between placements. This is because you will only receive an allowance when a child is living with you. To avoid gaps between placements our carers need to be open-minded about age or any additional needs of children.

It's ok to call us and talk about money with our team as we understand that it is an important consideration for you. See the benefits and support page for more information.

Experience and qualifications

We’re looking for people who are patient, flexible, understanding, determined and keen to learn.

You don't need any specific qualifications, but we will look for stability in your life so that we feel you are able to support a child and you have a genuine interest in supporting children.

It can help you if you have previous experience of looking after or you have worked with children but we provide a range of learning, development and training opportunities.

Families that already have children

Lots of our foster carers already have their own children and know that they’ve done a good job raising them. They want to give other children this same good start in life. You’ll need to think about the difference that fostering will make to your own children and talk to them about it.

Many of our foster carers have found that fostering has been a really positive experience for the rest of the family. 

Poppy is 16 and lives with foster carers who have teenage daughters. Read Poppy's story to find out more about her foster family.

Health and disabilities

We just need to know that you are generally healthy and have enough energy to keep up with a child. We assess this through your GP. We will then consider any health issues or disabilities identified and how this might impact on your fostering role on a case by case basis.


If you or anyone in your home smokes you will only be able to look after children over the age of five.

Whether you smoke cigarettes, e-cigarettes or use vaping products, we'll also expect you to only smoke outside and not in front of children. 

We know smoking around children can affect their health and we expect our foster carers to respect this.

Marital and relationship status

We want to hear from people who are single, living together, married, divorced or separated, straight or gay.

If you are single, it’s really important to us that you have family or friends who can help and support you.

Denise, aged 56, is a single parent foster carer. She didn't think she had much chance of becoming a foster carer for a number of reasons. Read Denise's story

UK resident 

You will need to have lived in the UK for the last 6 months.


You don't have to drive. But, if you don't drive or have access to a car then we'll need to be sure you're able to get children to and from school, and to any meetings with their birth family.

Sometimes children need to travel to other areas of the county to attend school.


It's ok to own pets, but we'll need to do a pet assessment just to make sure they're friendly and comfortable with children around them. Sometimes we may need to ask you to have a specialist dog assessment.

Religious beliefs

We welcome applications from people regardless of religion or faith. But, we need our foster carers to respect and support our children in practising their own religion if they have one.

It is absolutely fine for our foster carers to have their own religious beliefs as long as the child is looked after whilst you are at your place of worship and you help the child to celebrate and to recognise their own religious festivals. You must respect a child's religion and be able to support them with this.

English as an additional language

We need you to speak, read and write English fluently, or be willing to develop this, so that you are not only able to communicate with the children you look after, but also support them through the  meetings you will need to have, for example with social workers or their school/nursery.

Get in touch

Interested in fostering with us? We'd love to hear from you.

Enquire about fostering

If you'd prefer to speak to someone then give us a call on
0300 123 6723

Who can foster?

If you can offer a child a safe and loving environment and support when they need it you could be a foster carer with Lancashire County Council. 

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