Two hands holding icon

Who can foster

People from all different backgrounds, religions and lifestyles can become a foster carer. However, there are some basic requirements that all foster carers must have.

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

Common questions

I don’t live in Islington, can I still foster?
Yes, many of our foster carers live outside the borough. However, you will need to be within comfortable commuting distance of Islington. This is so 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 will limit what kind of fostering you are be able to do.

Do I need any qualifications to foster?
No, you will 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 promote anti-discriminatory practice, 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 are 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 applicants from people with disabilities.

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?
Yes, you currently would require a spare room to foster with Islington.

Can I foster if I smoke?
Yes, but you will not be allowed to foster children under the age of five. Please consider stopping smoking, as children of all ages are affected by passive smoking. In addition, they will see you as a role model.

Do I have to be a British Citizen to foster?
No, but 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 020 7527 7933 or 0800 073 0428 or email us at

We also recommend you attend one of our online information sessions to hear more about fostering. They are run on Facebook Live and you can post any questions to the team and foster carers presenting.

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

Was this information helpful?
  1. Please select

  2. Data protection: We will handle your personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with the council’s Fair Processing Notice.