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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 in their own homes.

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 through:

  • a college course
  • specialist courses run by training organisations


You could prepare for foster care work by taking a college qualification, though this is not essential. Courses include:

  • 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 for the 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

Other Routes

You could become a foster carer by contacting your local council fostering service. You can also foster through independent agencies.

You would go through a preparation and assessment programme to make sure you could meet the needs of each child or young person placed with you.

During a preparation programme you would:

  • do pre-approval training, learn skills and get ready for fostering
  • attend groups to learn about the needs of children coming into foster care
  • have visits to your home by a social worker

Fostering service providers will usually organise training to fit in with people who are working during the week, so this may take place in the evening or at weekends.

Becoming a foster carer is open to you, whatever your marital status, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

More Information

Career tips

Having childcare experience of either working with, or caring for children, including your own or relatives' children can be useful.

Your whole family will be involved in fostering, so it's important that everyone is clear about what is involved.

Further information

You can find out more about fostering through 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 for each child
  • the ability to foster full-time - though there may be some exceptions to this

If there are 2 adults in your household who want to become foster parents, you'll both be expected to pass the relevant assessments.

Following checks, your social worker would prepare a report that's presented to an independent fostering panel to decide whether you can become a foster carer.

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
  • give day-to-day care to meet physical, intellectual, emotional and social needs
  • set suitable boundaries for behaviour
  • help with school work and promote a positive attitude to education
  • keep young people safe from harm and abuse
  • work with other professionals
  • put forward the views of young people in your care, even if you disagree with them
  • involve parents where possible
  • help the young person move on, in a positive way, to their next setting

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 set up your own fostering agency.

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: 05 September 2022
  • Location: Cheltenham

Health and Social Care

  • Start date: 17 September 2022
  • Location: Liverpool

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

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