Frequently Asked Questions

Fostering is a big decision, so we completely understand that you may have many questions about becoming a fostering family. Below are our most commonly asked questions, however please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions that are not answered here.

What's the difference between Fostering and Adoption?

Both are ways to provide children with loving homes. But they’re different in crucial respects.


Foster parents provide a stable family life for children and young people, who are unable to live with their birth parents at a point in time. This could be for a few nights/weeks, months or years and sometimes until they reach adulthood. Many fostered children return to their own families after a temporary stay in foster care however some children need longer term foster homes to enable children the chance to thrive in a safe, secure, loving and caring home environment with foster parents.

As a foster parent you have the potential to help more than just one child or young person


Adoption is a way of providing a new family for children who cannot be brought up by their own parents. It’s a legal procedure in which all the parental responsibility is transferred to the adopters. Once an adoption order has been granted it can’t be reversed except in extremely rare circumstances. An adopted child loses all legal ties with their first mother and father (the “birth parents”) and becomes a full member of the new family, usually taking the family’s name.

Fostering is very different to adoption so consider carefully which option is the right one for you and your family.

I don’t have a spare room – can I foster?

You will need a spare room which has space for a single bed, wardrobe and chest of drawers. We are unable to accept applications unless you have a spare room but we are happy to talk to you about the sort of property which would be suitable if you were considering a move at some point in the future.

Do I need any qualifications to foster?

No. Park Foster Care provides free training where you and your family will be supported to identify existing skills, experiences and qualities that you can build on as a family. Following approval, foster parents in England are supported to achieve Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care. Park’s foster parents all have their own personal development plans where we support you to identify what learning you need to undertake to as part of your professional development as a foster parent.

What support is available?

Park Foster Care has a variety of different ways of supporting foster parents during the day and outside of office hours. One of the key people to support you will be your supervising social worker, who will meet with you regularly to discuss any concerns you have, undertake supervision, and arrange any training you feel you need. Park pay for you to be a member of Foster Talk an independent, non-profit organisation providing professional support services to foster parents across the UK

Can I foster if I have pets?

You can still foster if you have pets, many children benefit from living in a family with animals. However each animal has a different temperament and behaviour, and will be assessed as part of the family assessment process. You will need to consider how much time looking after your pet(s) takes, how you would feel if a child scared or harmed your pet.

Am I too old to foster?

The national average age of people starting their fostering journey is 54 however here at Park Foster Care we’re proud to support foster parents from various age groups right up to their mid-70’s, proving that fostering is an all-inclusive career, where age is nothing but a number.

Can I take my foster child on holiday?

Family holidays whether home or abroad are an invaluable part of building long lasting memories and provide the ideal opportunity for family members to bond and spend some quality time together.

It’s therefore no surprise that one of the most frequently asked questions from people thinking of becoming a foster family is ‘can I take a foster child on holiday?’

For the most part the answer is YES however there are some considerations and things to put in place before you can pack that suitcase. As a foster family there are some rules and regulations that need to be considered.

Do I have to be a British citizen in order to become a foster parent?

You will need to be a full-time resident of the UK in order to start a fostering application. We receive placement requests for families of all different backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures and welcome people from all backgrounds.

I’m moving house soon, can I apply to foster before I move?

Park Foster Care would need you to have moved into your new property so we can assess its suitability as part of the assessment process. People often ask our advice on what sort of house and what location is best so they can foster. We are happy to talk to you before a move but would delay starting an application until you are settled.

Will a police record stop me from fostering?

Not necessarily. Park would ask that you are very open from the start about any criminal convictions, as we undertake enhanced criminal record checks on every adult household member. Criminal convictions against children or of a sexual nature would prevent someone being able to become a foster parent. Minor historic offences should not count against you in your application to foster, but if you withhold this information it will make us question your openness with us.

I have a long-term health condition?

Any long-term conditions are taken into account during the initial application stage and during the assessment. Park Foster Care has a responsibility for the well-being of its foster parents and need to be sure you are physically and psychologically fit enough to cope with the demands of caring for a child – this may vary depending on the age of the children that you are approved for.

I suffer from depression, will that prevent me from fostering?

Past or current mental illness does not prevent you becoming a foster parent, however you would need to discuss any health issues with us in the early stages. Every foster parent undertakes a full medical prior to being approved and at regular intervals thereafter. Your mental health will be discussed as part of the assessment process, to ensure the stresses of fostering will not negatively impact on your health and well-being.

Do I have to speak English to be a foster parent?

You will need a good level of spoken and written English to be able to communicate with other professionals, support children’s education and make notes and keep records. Some children speak English as a second language, so being placed with foster parents who are multilingual is very positive for them. Do give Park a call if you wish to discuss any communication needs.

I smoke, can I still be a foster parent?

You will not be able to foster a child under the age of 5 years or a disabled child of any age if you smoke. This also includes the use of Vape’s. All foster parents should provide a smoke-free environment for children.

My child is disabled, will this affect me being able to foster?

You can apply to become a foster parent if one of your children has a disability. Park will want to discuss with you how you would balance out the needs of any children who are placed with you with the needs of your own child and what the impact could be on your own child of having other children in their home.

Our locations

Main office

Park Foster Care, 5 Ridgehouse Drive, Festival Park, Hanley, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, ST1 5TL

Training venues

Hanley, Stoke on Trent – Telford – Burton Upon Trent – Nantwich


For more information call

0800 169 4552

Or get in touch