I'm considering fostering

Fostering is when a child, or young person, is cared for by someone who is not their parent or guardian. Becoming a foster carer offers you the opportunity to make a real difference in someone’s life.

It’s different from adoption, which permanently transfers all parental rights and responsibilities to you and your family. Instead, fostering provides a child or young person with a temporary place to stay, and they eventually either return home or go to live with family members.

Our foster carers change lives every day. They’re caring, patient and provide stability to our children and young people. Our foster carers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and are of all abilities who can offer children a fulfilling and active life.

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Please see our fostering requirements below

A spare room is an essential requirement to foster. We believe that children who are fostered must have their own bedroom, as we think it is important that they have a safe space they can call their own. If you don’t have a spare room and you wish to support children in care, please contact us and we will provide you with details of other volunteering options that might be suitable for you.


You can foster if you are aged 21 or over – there is no upper age limit. Each application is considered individually.


You can foster if you have care experience, either as a parent or in a voluntary or professional capacity. Our team can suggest organisations across Hampshire if you need to gain more experience.


Our foster carers each have very different backgrounds. Not all our foster carers are parents and we welcome applicants who do not have children of their own.

Lots of our foster carers have their own children or may be step-parents to children from a new relationship, and many looked after children really benefit from being in a family environment. All members of your household will be considered during the assessment and we will need to consider the wishes and feelings of your child/children and ensure it is right for them too. We will always carefully consider your children when looking at which children to place in your home.


Your marital status and sexuality does not determine your suitability to foster. We welcome all applicants and have a large number of single foster carers and LGBTQ+ foster carers in Hampshire.


You can foster is you work full-time and many of our foster carers who work full-time offer respite care at weekends. Fostering is a big commitment and we do ask that you have the flexibility to support a child or young person.


Fostering can be stressful and demanding and we wouldn't want you to take on any tasks that may put your health at risk. As long as you can perform key fostering activities, such as the school run or paediatric first aid (which we’ll provide training for), then we will consider your application. If you receive a Disability Living Allowance, becoming a foster carer will not affect these benefits.


If you smoke cigarettes/e-cigarettes/vapour cigarettes you will not be able to foster children under the age of five, or a child of any age with any health conditions or disabilities. You will also be expected to smoke outside and away from children. If you are trying to give up smoking, we need to see evidence that you have given up for at least six months before we begin an assessment. Please see your GP for advice and guidance about giving up smoking.


We will look at your financial situation during the assessment process as we must be certain that your household is a stable environment and that you can meet any rent or mortgage payments.


If you, or a member of your household, has had a criminal record it will not necessarily stop you from fostering. It depends on what the conviction was for and when the offence was committed, so please discuss this with us. We undertake a check with the Police (known as a Disclosure and Barring Service check) with all our applicants and all criminal records and cautions will be disclosed.


Download our information pack

Discover everything you need to know about how to foster with Hampshire County Council Fostering Service with our comprehensive information pack.

I would like an information pack

fostering information brochure