The minimum age to become a foster carer in the UK is 21 years old. However, there is no maximum age limit for people wanting to foster a child. If you are interested in fostering, and are fit and healthy, no matter what your age you are never too old to get in touch with us.
A Government study in 2020 found that the majority of foster carers in England between 2019 and 2020 were over 50 years old. The study found that of the 71,150 approved foster carers, 65% were over 50 years of age and 25% were over 60. If you want to foster but you think it’s just a job for the younger generations, these statistics show that you are not too old after all. In fact, if you decide to foster later on in your life you will be in the majority.
Fostering is more than a career, it is giving your home, your time and your love to vulnerable children and young people in need. You can be an excellent foster carer at twenty five but people in their sixties and seventies still have a lot to offer and can make fantastic foster carers too.
Are you considering becoming a foster carer but feel like your age is holding you back? Keep reading to learn why you should become a foster carer in later life.
5 reasons to foster in later life.
1. Valuable life experience – The older you are, the more life experience you have. You may not have had the exact same experiences as the children you will be caring for, but life will have undoubtedly taught you valuable lessons that you can use to help guide and comfort others. You may even be retired from a job that has provided you with many transferrable skills for a career in fostering.
2. Previous parenting experience – If you are a parent you will already have experience of caring for and raising a child that will help you during your fostering journey. It is not necessary to have your own biological children to become a foster carer, however it you have already had children then you will have a good understanding and knowledge of general child care. Raising your own children is different to looking after children as a foster carer, but having previous parenting experience will serve you well as a foster carer.
3. More free time – If you decide to foster in your sixties or seventies, you may be retired and have lots of free time on your hands. The more free time you have, the better. Having no other work commitments means you will be able to dedicate more time to caring for the children and young people in your home, taking them to appointments, school and visits with their birth families. Without the worries of getting your own children to school or getting into the office for work, you will be able to fully commit to your role as a foster carer.
4. Fill the empty nest – Now your biological children are grown up and have their own homes and families, this is the perfect time to foster. Many parents struggle with empty nest syndrome when their children move out of the family home. Fostering can help give struggling parents a new focus and sense of purpose, while also bestowing their love and care onto children who desperately need it.
5. There are many different types of foster care – Not all foster carers have to foster babies or large groups of siblings. If you are concerned your age will impact your ability to look after very young children, you can be approved to only foster children over a certain age. Instead of long term foster care, you can offer respite care to children and young people who only need foster care for a short time. You may be thinking you can’t cope with the sleepless nights with a baby or the challenges that come with caring for a toddler, but there are older children and teenagers needing a loving foster family too.