Who can foster

Foster carers come from all walks of life. We are looking for ordinary people who can do an extraordinary job. You do need to enjoy being with children and young people, to be patient, understanding and tolerant with plenty of energy.

You'll almost certainly need a sense of humour too. You don't need to be married, have children of your own or any direct previous experience but you will need room in your home for a foster child to have their own space.

We need flexible and reliable people who are up for a new challenge with the capacity and personal qualities to look after a child. We need carers who reflect children's ethnicity and can promote their religious and cultural heritage.

We can't promise anyone an easy time but we can promise that you will make a real difference in a child or young person's life. It could be one of the most rewarding things you ever do.

Marital status

It doesn't matter if you are married, divorced, single or cohabiting. What does matter are the skills and qualities you can offer a child or young person in placement. If you are in a partnership we do expect both of you to be present when we visit and both of you would be involved in the assessment process and attend the training.

Sexuality

Lesbian and gay couples or single lesbian and gay men can all foster - Trafford is committed to equal opportunities and interested in the skills and care you have to offer, not your sexuality.

Children

You do not have to have childen of your own to foster. You do need to enjoy being with children and have an understanding of their development and needs. Fostering is a job for the whole family so if you do have children or young people of your own they would also be involved in the assessment process.

Employment status

We need foster carers for older teenagers who could be placed with families who work full-time. Also, our home from home scheme needs foster carers who can offer planned short breaks to children with disabilities and their families. We also offer short breaks to our full time foster carers who request a weekend or holiday break.

You can foster if you're unemployed, you just need to have the time and space to make a difference in children and young people's lives.

Age

In Trafford we do not have an upper age limit for our foster carers; your life experience is viewed positively. You do need to be relatively fit and healthy in order to meet the needs of children and young people in a safe way.

Criminal records

This would not necessarily exclude you from fostering. The seriousness of the crime, how long ago it happened and how you have lived your life since will be taken into consideration. People with convictions for offences against children cannot foster. We would ask that you discuss any criminal convictions or cautions with the supervising social worker at your initial visit.