Can I foster a Child if I have pets?
Ownership of a pet or pets does not usually preclude anyone from becoming a foster carer. In fact, having an animal in the foster home can actually be of real benefit to a foster child.
The potential implications presented by ownership of any type of pet is be assessed on their own merits. In a number of cases, the presence of a family pet can have a positive and therapeutic effect on children. For a foster child, pets can help them a number of issues, from their emotional health through friendship, to teaching them about responsibility.
However, some pets can pose a risk to children. Lorimer Fostering together with our foster carers need to ensure that the children’s welfare is protected at all times. Whilst pets can be beneficial, equally, pets have the potential to become the object of a foster child’s frustrations and anger. Knowing whether a pet, such as a dog or cat, will be helpful or hurtful to a foster child depends on a thorough knowledge of the history of both the child and pet concerned.
For anyone who has been through a trauma in life, a pet can be a wonderful source of comfort. Many people have pets that help with their mental health, including anxiety and depression. They also teach responsibility, A dog, for example, will need walking and feeding etc. This can help to build character and trust in a foster child. Many children in care can feel a sense of worthlessness and inability. The responsibility of caring for a pet can actually give them an enormous sense of self-worth. This can be good for their emotional health and can boost their self-esteem immeasurably.
Living with a family pet who loves them unconditionally can be priceless for a foster child, and so we would never refuse an application purely because you have a pet. We believe that they can be a great asset in a foster home.
Pets in the household will be considered at the time of the Health and Safety inspection during the assessment process. It should be noted however that there is an ongoing duty to ensure the child’s safety. Household circumstances can quickly change, for example looking after another person’s pets etc.
In all cases, pets are expected to be well cared for and fully up to date with their inoculations. Their food and water must be fresh and not contaminate human food preparation areas, etc. It’s important to note that you cannot foster if you have been convicted of cruelty to animals. You cannot foster if you own a pet that is registered or required to be registered under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. You cannot foster if you own any breed of dog that is registered or required to be registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991/1997.