Who can foster?

We believe that the greatest gift that a new foster carer can offer a child is a genuine commitment to care for them, along with lots of energy, understanding and patience.

We are looking for people with a range of backgrounds and lifestyles to come forward, and welcome applications from people who:

  • Are over 21
  • Are single, married or living with a same sex or different sex partner
  • Are from any ethnic background and religion
  • Are home owners, renting or on housing benefit
  • Currently have a spare room
  • Are either employed or unemployed. Note that approved foster carers must register as being self-employed. More information about this can be found on the HRMC website – read HMRC’s FAQs or view HMRC’s free e-learning package to find out about national insurance, tax and a special scheme for foster carers, Qualifying Care Relief

Whatever your background, fostering could be for you

We will consider your family history sympathetically as we are not simply looking for people who have had straightforward lives. Learning from difficulties or losses can be helpful experiences for fostering.

Many of the children we need to place in foster care will have suffered trauma, grief and loss and will be left feeling vulnerable. We are looking for carers who can work as part of a team with birth parents and a range of professionals to provide children with a safe and stable environment for them to grow and develop.

Checks and references, including a Disclosure and Barring Service check and a health check with your GP, are taken up to ensure the welfare and safety of foster children.

Who cannot foster?

We cannot place children under 5 in households that include smokers.

What is the difference between fostering and adopting?

Foster care offers a home for children and young people usually on a temporary basis while their parents are unable to look after them. Children who cannot return home may need a longer placement or a permanent foster family, but the County Council continues to have some legal responsibility.

In contrast, adoption is for life, and anyone who adopts a child takes on all the rights and responsibilities that the birth parent had, and becomes the legal parent. Find out more about adopting a child in Norfolk.