Fostering as a career

By choosing a fostering career, you’ll offer life-changing support to vulnerable children. It’s a gratifying vocation with a tangible impact – your work will make a difference.

Fostering as a career

Fostering allows plenty of scope for progression and personal development because there’s a wealth of training courses to explore. Plus, you’ll receive a competitive fostering allowance that pays a wage and covers additional living expenses.

Can you make a living from fostering?

Of course, people foster because they care about children's physical and emotional well-being. However, it's perfectly normal to wonder about foster carer pay and whether you can make a living through this work. 

Foster carers receive a regular fostering allowance to cover costs, including food, clothes, travel and other expenses. Additionally, you might be eligible for other payments, such as one-off sums that recognise your experience and time invested. 

At Olive Branch Fostering, we give carers a yearly raise to reflect their effort and dedication. Once the amount goes up, it never decreases, giving you financial security and peace of mind. 

Keep in mind that all foster carers are self-employed in the UK, so you'll have to complete a self-assessment and pay tax. However, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) introduced qualified care relief, which grants carers a tax-free amount to be deducted from their total fostering payments. 

What's more, you may be entitled to certain benefits, including working tax credit. 

How much do foster carers get paid?

Fostering allowances vary from private foster agency to local authority, with some paying more than others. Several factors affect pay, including where you live, your foster child’s age and if they have any special needs. For example, therapeutic foster carers with advanced training can receive a higher allowance. The increase recognises the skills and knowledge you need to take on this type of placement, alongside supplementing medical and educational costs. 

What are the benefits of choosing to foster as a career?

There’s a multitude of benefits when you choose fostering as a career. Not only will you be changing a young person’s life for the better by offering them an environment where they can thrive, but you’ll also expand your personal and professional horizons. 


There’s nothing more rewarding and heart-warming than making a positive difference in a child’s life. Unfortunately, many foster children come from unsafe homes, and some may have suffered from abuse. Most haven’t had a childhood because they’ve been forced to grow up too quickly. Consequently, foster children struggle to trust others and build healthy, nourishing relationships. 

Your role as a carer is to turn this around through unconditional love, patience and encouragement. Day by day, with expert guidance, you’ll help your foster child manage their struggles and difficulties. Together, you’ll create a brighter future brimming with opportunities they may not have otherwise had. 


Besides helping children, fostering facilitates self-development for carers. Along the way, you’ll tap into strength, compassion and resilience you didn’t even realise you had. Foster carers often report increased awareness, especially when looking after placement children from different backgrounds than their own. 

Fostering gives you a chance to learn something new. You’ll develop your unique caregiving style, understand how to address the needs of individuals effectively and gain valuable therapeutic tools. Everything you pick up can then be used to improve your communication and problem-solving abilities. 

Training courses 

When you become a foster carer, hundreds of  training courses are at your fingertips to ensure you have the latest skills and know best practices. 

Some are mandatory, covering the basics of health and safety, whereas others provide extensive information about caring for children with complex and specialist needs. Supplementary training might address topics like domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and long-term neglect. 

Foster carer pay, allowance and benefits

As a foster carer, you will receive a regular allowance payment. Foster carer pay, allowance and benefits page for more information.

Allowance and benefits
Foster carers role

Can I work full time and be a foster carer?

There are many misconceptions that come with foster care. One of the most significant is that you will have to give up your working life to take care of a child.

Read more here
What are the roles and responsibilities of foster parents

Common Questions

There are several misconceptions about working/fostering life balance. Despite the time and dedication required to fostering, you still can keep a full-time job.

Many foster carers can balance the responsibilities of caring for a foster child with their work commitments. Fostering a child can require a sizable time commitment because you'll be responsible for meeting the child's requirements and creating a nurturing environment for them.

You may need to be flexible with your work schedule to attend meetings and appointments related to the child's care, and you may need to work with your employer to find a suitable arrangement that allows you to fulfil your responsibilities as a foster carer.

It is also a good idea to discuss your plans to foster a child with your employer before you begin the process so that you can understand any potential impacts on your job and make any necessary arrangements in advance.

Foster caring is a time-consuming role, not just in terms of raising a child/family, but also in terms of all the work that goes on behind the scenes (report writing, handling paperwork, contributing to fostering reviews, liaising with a number of social, health and education professionals). 

Foster carers receive a fostering allowance that is considered enough to cover the costs of looking after a child in foster care. This should include basic things such as clothing, food and pocket money – however, there will be some flexibility around how this is spent when it comes to your family dynamic. 

Foster carers are expected to look after their children and be able to provide the time to care for them whenever required to do so. This would include things such as attending parents evenings or school meetings, looking after them after school hours and supporting them with homework where appropriate, as well as supporting them emotionally through their ups and downs, or even staying in contact with the child’s biological family. 

If you’re considering becoming a foster carer as a couple (who both work full time) you would often have more flexibility than a single carer (simply due to having an extra set of hands available if one parent couldn’t make a specific calendar appointment). Having two individuals in the picture helps lighten the load – particularly if you’re looking to maintain a full-time job. 

Could you open your heart and home to a child who needs a fresh start and a safe space to call home?

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