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I am single and I foster

We have foster carers who are single, married or living together, so yes you can foster with us if you are single

You might be surprised at just how open fostering is – almost anyone can be a foster carer. But we still get asked the same questions – can single parents foster? Can I foster as a single man?

Yes, we have foster carers who are single, married or living together, so yes you can foster with us if you are single man, a single woman, any sexual orientation, if you are already a single parent or no parenting experience at all.

Read more from Beth, a single parent who fosters.

being a single foster carer

I have been a foster carer for eight years being 27 when I was approved.

I am currently a long-term foster carer and also help out sometimes with day care when needed. I started off as a short-term foster carer but made the change when a little one was a good match for my family.

how to become a single foster parent

From the time I sent an email enquiring, to being approved, it was 10 months. The longest delay in the process was waiting for a panel date. I had already been told by family members the assessment process can be quite invasive and there are lots of questions asked.

I felt, although it seems to take a long time when you just want to get started, it was good to reflect with my daughter and think about if it was the right decision. 

Young female sitting at a garden table with 3 young girls smiling

choosing the right type of fostering as a single parent

One of the difficulties in being a foster carer for me is saying goodbye when I have moved children on for adoption.

My eldest was eight years old when we started fostering. She found saying goodbye for adoption quite difficult, it is one of the reasons why I’m now doing long term.  

My youngest was born after our foster child had been here for two years. She just thinks of her as an older sister.

fostering alongside your own children

As a single carer with my own two children, it can also be challenging trying to juggle all the after-school clubs. My supervising social worker is always at the end of the phone or an email when I have needed advice. I attend support groups put on by the local authority to meet other foster carers, I have found great support in others who understand.

the positives about fostering

The positives for me are I am lucky enough to have stayed in contact with the families of the children I have moved on for adoption. I get sent pictures and updates and it’s wonderful to see how much they have grown. I feel proud knowing I had an important part in that child’s life. 

FAQs as a single foster parent

Can I be a single LGBT foster carer?

Yes

Can a single man foster?

Yes

Can a single woman foster?

Yes

Can you foster if you live alone?

Yes, if there is a spare bedroom available.

Can I still work and foster?

Yes. Some single working foster parents choose to provide short breaks and emergency foster care to fit around their full-time work.

Do I need any experience?

You don’t need to have been a parent or worked with children before. Some experience of being around children, whether it’s recent babysitting, caring for nieces and nephews, or volunteering would be beneficial for your assessment.

Is there extra support for single foster carers?

If you don’t have any family or friends living nearby to help, your Foster Wales team can introduce you to another foster carer living nearby to offer support and advice.

Can I claim child benefit?

You can claim child benefit for your own children, but you can’t claim for any fostered children. Read our guide to foster carer pay.

things to consider as a single foster parent?

Availability

The school holidays can be challenging as a single foster parent. There are summer children’s clubs, your family can help out and other foster carers might be able to offer respite – but the summer is a popular time of year to ask for support. If you work, then a supportive employer might offer you additional annual leave or flexible working hours as part of a fostering friendly HR policy.

Support network

Caring for children who have experienced a traumatic start in life, isn’t easy. You’ll need supportive friends and family, a supportive employer if you work, and it’s good to have other foster carers to talk to. You may be dealing with some situations by yourself. Particularly at the weekend or evenings, you might be dwelling on something a child has shared with you, until you can speak to a social worker the following day.

Finance

As a foster carer, you’ll receive financial support to care for children as well as a payment to you. Your Foster Wales team will help you to consider your own financial situation, as a single foster carer, particularly if you have no other source of income or benefits.

Type of fostering

Take on the advice of the supervising social worker on what type of fostering they think would suit your family the best. If you get the opportunity, then speak to other foster carers who have a similar family dynamic to you.

4 big benefits of being a single foster carer

  1. The assessment process can be a little quicker as it’s only your background checks and your availability for appointments, training etc.
  2. When phone rings, the decision to say “yes” can be quicker. You don’t have to discuss with everyone else in the household.
  3. Some foster children can play a couple off against each other. As a single foster carer there’s only you, and you can give them 1:1 attention.
  4. Some children might be more comfortable with a single foster carer. Your relationship with the birth parent might be easier too.

make a difference by fostering with your local authority

We’re Foster Wales Neath Port Talbot, part of the national network of 22 Welsh Local Authority fostering services. Our aim is to build better futures for children within our community.  Contact us today.

If you live elsewhere in Wales, visit the Foster Wales website, where you can find all the necessary information about fostering and contact details for your local authority fostering service.

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