Fostering myth busting

We've provided answers to common myths about fostering.

Yes you can.

You do not have to be in a relationship to become a foster carer - what’s important is your ability to provide a safe and supportive home.

We will offer you our full support so that you never feel on your own during your placement.

It is useful if you have a strong support network of family and friends around you.

We welcome foster carers of any sexual orientation.

Your sexual orientation is not important when we are assessing your ability to provide a safe and loving home to a child or young person. We have a diverse range of children in care, so there needs to be diversity among our foster carer community too. We also welcome people from culturally-diverse backgrounds.

Some of our carers work part-time/flexibly so they are able to balance work and the needs of the child or young person.

If you are fostering as a couple, only one person needs to be available during the day and night. The other parent is able to continue working.

You could consider becoming a 'short break' foster carer, who cares for a child or young person for regular periods of time. Such as one weekend a month, or a week during the summer holidays. These carers can offer regular support to other foster carers and/or families of children and young people with disabilities.

Many foster carers have a faith background. Provided you can meet the needs of any children or young people you look after, being of a certain faith (or of no faith) is not a barrier to becoming a foster carer.

What is important is that foster carers respect the religion of any children they look after.

You have to be 21 to foster, however there is no upper age limit for foster carers.

The most important factor is that you have the time, motivation and commitment needed to care for a child or young person - and that you have the energy to keep up with them.

You can have pets and still be a foster carer; in fact, they can be an asset to a foster family.

Your pets will be assessed as part of the process of becoming a foster carer, taking into account factors such as their temperament and behaviour.

Some carers smoke, however we do not place children under 5 in a smoking household. Foster carers are not permitted to smoke in the house.

We welcome applications from people who are homeowners or renting, whatever the size of your house.

The one requirement we do have, however, is a spare bedroom so that the child or young person has some space and privacy. 

The only exception is if you are fostering a baby as they would usually share a room with a foster carer. 

Around half of children in care have at least one brother or sister who we aim to keep together. They may be able to share a room with their sibling, but not with other children in the household.

Solihull Council is responsible for looking after children in care ranging from newborn to teenagers.

Some of our foster carers look after children of any age, but the vast majority will have a preference for an age range that fits in with their circumstances and family. We always take this into account when matching children with foster carers and you will be able to discuss this with us.

Not having children would not stop you becoming a foster carer. 

It is useful for foster carers without their own children to have some experience of caring for children, whether through work, volunteering or contact with relatives.

Having a criminal record does not in itself stop you from fostering. Minor offences committed some time ago need not exclude you from fostering, although serious offences like violence or offences against children will.

A police check for everyone over 18 in a household is compulsory during the initial checking process.

Our foster carers come from a wide range of backgrounds - some of them have lots of qualifications but many have none.

Your ability to provide love and stability for a child is what matters the most.  We provide a wide range of training courses to support your learning on your fostering journey, such as first aid and how to manage challenging behaviour.

Having your own children is brilliant experience for being a foster carer! It’s definitely not a barrier to you providing a loving, stable home for other children to enjoy.

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. 

As long as you have a spare bedroom in your home to give a child the space they need, you can still foster whilst your own children are still at home.