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Foster carer

Alternative titles for this job include

Foster carers look after children and young people who are not able to live with their birth family.

Average salary (a year)


Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays at short notice

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a foster carer

You can get into this role by applying directly.


You do not need any specific qualifications to become a foster carer.

However, it might help to take a college course, such as:

  • level 1 award in introduction to health, social care and children's and young people's settings
  • level 2 award in safeguarding and protecting children and young people
  • level 2 certificate in children and young people's workforce

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course

More Information

Direct Application

You can either foster with your local council or with one of the independent fostering agencies.

Anyone can become a foster carer. Local councils and agencies want to recruit a diverse range of foster carers regardless of sexuality, ethnicity, religion or marital status.

Assessment and training

Once you've applied to become a foster carer, you'll go through an assessment and a training programme. This is to make sure you could meet the needs of the children you'll foster.

Each council and agency will have slightly different assessments and training. You might:

  • learn skills at a preparation course
  • attend groups to talk to existing foster carers
  • spend time with a social worker who will ask about your personal history

If you're a couple, you both have to complete the training and pass the assessment.


Once you've completed the assessment, your social worker will write a report and present this to a panel who will decide if you can become a foster carer.

The report will outline your skills and any areas where you need more training or support. You can see the report and add your own comments before it's submitted to the panel.

More Information

Career tips

It might help your application if you have experience looking after children. This could be from caring for your own children or other children in your family.

Your whole family will be involved in fostering. It's important to tell them you're applying to be a foster carer. You should be clear with them about what is involved and the support you'll need.

Further information

You can find out more about fostering from the Fostering Network and Foster Talk.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

You'll also need a spare bedroom and for some agencies, you cannot have another job.

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • welcome a child or young person to be part of your family
  • care for and meet the emotional and social needs of a child
  • help with school work and promote a positive attitude to education
  • keep young people safe from harm and abuse
  • support the young people in your care and put their views forward
  • involve birth parents where possible

Working environment

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could help train new foster carers. 

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a foster carer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Health & Social Care (Diploma)

  • Start date: 04 September 2024
  • Location: Cheltenham

Health and Social Care

  • Provider: HULL COLLEGE
  • Start date: 03 September 2024
  • Location: Hull

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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