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Who can foster

Islington welcomes applications from a wide variety of people from different backgrounds, religions and lifestyles. However, there are some basic requirements to become a foster carer.

In order to foster with Islington, you must: 

  • have a spare bedroom if you want to foster children over two years old
  • be able to take children to and from school, to health appointments and to meet their family 
  • be in good health
  • be able to speak, read and write English 
  • be there for a child whenever they need you 

I don’t live in Islington, can I still foster? 

Yes, many of our foster carers live outside of the borough and a few even live outside London. However, you’ll need to be within comfortable commuting distance of Islington. This is so that you can attend meetings or contact sessions and the child can travel to school and see friends and family easily and safely.  Each child's needs are different and it may sometimes be better for them to live outside Islington. 

I work full time, can I still foster? 

Yes, however this would limit what kind of fostering you would be able to do. 

Do I need any qualifications to foster? 

No, and you’ll get qualifications through the training we run. 

Will fostering affect my benefits? 

Usually not, but you should check with your local benefits office. You can get further advice from The Fostering Network

Am I too old to foster? 

No, we welcome applications from anyone aged 24 and over. 

Can I foster if I don’t own my own house? 

Yes, Islington foster carers live in owned or rented accommodation, and may be private or council tenants. 

Can I foster if I'm unemployed? 

Yes, we take applications from people regardless of their financial situation.  

Can I foster if I'm gay or lesbian? 

Yes, Islington is committed to equal opportunities and we are interested in what skills and abilities you can offer.  

Can I foster if I'm single? 

Yes, we welcome your application if you’re single, in a relationship or married. 

Can I foster if I have a criminal record?

Maybe. We try to get a balanced picture of where people are now in their lives, but violent or child related convictions would rule you out. 

Can I foster if I have a disability? 

Yes, we welcome disabled applicants. 

Can I foster if English is my second language? 

Yes, but you do need to have a good standard of written and spoken English. This is to ensure you can communicate with both the child and other professionals such as teachers and social workers. 

Do I need to have a spare room? 

No, but this would limit the ages you can care for. Children under two can sleep in a cot in your bedroom but older children will need a room of their own. 

Can I foster if I smoke? 

Yes, but you won’t be allowed to foster children under the age of five. Please consider stopping smoking, as children of all ages are affected by passive smoking. Also, they’ll see you as a role model. 

Do I have to be a British Citizen to foster? 

No, but we you must show that you are eligible to remain in the UK permanently. One way to do this is to apply for a UK residence card

I have children, can I still foster? 

Yes, we welcome people who already have valuable parenting experience: your children would also be involved in the fostering process.  

What is the next step?

If you have any further questions please call the team on 0800 073 0428 or email us at

To find out more you can attend one of our information sessions where you can talk to the team and current Islington foster carers. 

Details of the next sessions can be found on out how to apply page.

You can also drop in and talk to the recruitment team at our 3 Elwood Street, N5 1EB office, 10am – 4pm Monday-Friday. 

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