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Can I choose the age of my foster child?

If you already have birth children or grandchildren, you might be wondering; can I choose the age of my foster child to ensure a good fit within my family dynamics? You may be interested to know that “can you choose age range when fostering” and “can you choose what age to foster” are some of our most commonly asked questions by prospective foster parents.  

Whilst it might be tempting to think that younger children would be the ideal match, the reality is that each child is unique. Just like your own children, children who are looked after, regardless of age, may not always behave or be interested in the things you’d imagine they would. Despite being of similar ages, birth children and children who are looked after may have disagreements, but these differences are part of the normal joys and challenges of family life. At Family Fostering Partners, we are passionate about matching our foster parents to the right children, with consideration for your personal family dynamics and age preferences.  

Can you choose age range when fostering?  

Experts recommend maintaining a two- or three-year age gap between your children and any child who’s looked after and living with you. This age gap can facilitate a more harmonious living arrangement, offering personal space for everyone to grow as individuals without direct comparisons based on age. It reflects the age gap which would exist between birth siblings.   

This approach can also make sharing toys, managing age-related challenges, and coordinating social activities more manageable for everyone involved. It's important to recognise that there are both challenges and rewards in fostering children of any age! Click here to read about Family Fostering Partners foster parents Katie and Tyler, and why fostering teenagers works well for them.

  

Guidance from Family Fostering Partners 

Once approved as a foster parent, your designated link worker from Family Fostering Partners will guide you through thinking about potential challenges and rewards associated with caring for children outside of your initially considered age range. For example, you may be approved to care for children aged 0-18, but your preference could be primary school aged children.   

Additionally, at Family Fostering Partners we provide ongoing training to help you learn and develop as a foster parent. This training, designed in house with the needs of our foster parents in mind, will equip you to navigate challenges that children who are looked after may experience. Our training program throughout the year is wide and varied, but will include topics such as paediatric first aid, internet safety, and ‘the teenage brain’. Such topics will allow you to grow your skills and knowledge, allowing you to feel confident in your ability to help look after the child/children as they grow up under your care.  

As well as the training and support that we offer internally at Family Fostering Partners, all foster parents with FFP will be given access to ‘Foster Talk, who hold regular webinars and more!   

Can I choose the age of my foster child?  

Limiting yourself to one specific age, for example only children who are 8 years old, will prove more challenging when trying to match you a child to come and live with you. Consider wider parameters instead, such as, whether you would like the child to be of primary school or secondary school age. It’s important to also consider that a child may present as older or younger than their chronological age, these are all factors to consider when deciding on an age range. At Family Fostering Partners, your assessing social worker will have these open and honest conversations with you throughout the assessment process, it is not something you need to decide on immediately. ‘Can you choose what age to foster?’ in short terms… the answer is yes!   

Fostering is about teaching, having fun with your family, and creating a supportive environment for the growth and development of each child entrusted to your care. So, in answer to our most commonly asked questions- "Can I choose the age of my foster child?", "can you choose what age to foster?" and "can you choose age range when fostering?"... the answer is yes! But please keep in mind conversations and discussions during the assessment process will also help to match you with children who will thrive in your home.  

Start your fostering journey today – click here to visit our contact page

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