Pets and fostering

5 June 2024

Child with dog

We are a nation of pet lovers here in the UK and we certainly are here at Foster Care Matters – so we understand how important pets are to our applicants. We are often asked if you can foster if you have pets.

The simple answer is YES!  There are also so many benefits to children in having and caring for pets, so having a pet is a great plus for many foster parents. We know that pets can offer a variety of benefits including stress relief, companionship and allowing children to build empathy and compassion for others through caring for pets.

We know that many of our foster parent applicants are sometimes worried about what is involved in a ‘pet assessment’ when they enquire with us.

Worrying about your pet during an assessment is a hot topic in many online forums, with people thinking worrying that someone is going to come to your home and pull your dog or cat’s tail, remove their food whilst eating etc. to see their reaction.

We can assure you that is NOT the case! A child’s welfare and safety are our utmost priority and as part of our assessment process, we will go through a ‘pet questionnaire’ asking you questions about the pets in your home. It’s all pretty standard stuff around routines, feeding, cleaning up waste, sleeping arrangements etc. We have had a wide variety of pets to include in our assessments ranging from cats and dogs through to snakes, lizards and a family of ducklings!

As standard, we will also ask for a professional dog assessor / behaviourist to also assess any dog in your home as part of your assessment, this is covered by Foster Care Matters as part of your assessment. We will talk all through this with you in detail and it’s not something we want to ever deter someone from enquiring about fostering.

We also know that our pets can often show us up when we desperately want them to behave 😊 (!) so please be assured, it’s not a test – it is an assessment from a professional who is experienced in their field and who is only interested in the child’s safety and welfare, not if your pet can perform tricks on demand!

We also have lots of advice that we can share with you from professionals from leading animal charities that we can share with you during assessment, providing guidance for you to help transition and settle your pet into the new routine of a little person being around if they have never lived with one before.

If you are not sure about anything, please just ask us, and we will do our best to answer any query you have relating to pets in your home.

Download our fostering guide below or call us for an informal chat on 0300 123 1061

Download the Foster Care Matters fostering guide

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