We’re often asked, ‘can you foster if you have pets?’ and our answer is yes! Dogs, cats, and all sorts of other animals can be a fantastic addition to your foster family. As long as you are over the age of 21 and have a spare bedroom, we’ll always consider you for fostering.
There’s lots of misconceptions around pets and fostering, especially when it comes to what type of animals you can have in your home. But how do animals fit in when it comes to foster care, and what is needed during assessment?
Are there any pets that I can’t keep in my home?
Potential foster carers often say to us ‘can I foster if I have a dog?’ This is asked frequently as there are myths that you cannot have certain types of animals at all if you want to foster. This is not true and can sadly put a lot of people off from applying to foster.
We do state that you must not own any animals on the banned animal list due to their unpredictable behaviour. We cannot allow for any vulnerable young person to be living in a home where an animal may be a danger to them.
At Compass, our foster parents have a huge range of pets. We have seen chickens, (named after our social workers!) Hedgehogs, snakes, lizards, and even tarantulas! Every family is different and how their pets fit in will be different too, we are an open-minded bunch and willing come to your home, whoever may live there.
How does having pets affect my assessment?
During your fostering assessment with us, we will get to know you and your family, including your furry friends! A fostering assessment helps us get a full picture of what it will be like living in your home, your family dynamic and how a foster child might fit in there.
While you’re being assessed as a foster carer, anyone over the age of 18 will need to have a DBS check, and any pets will need to have a pet assessment. Every young person is unique as well as every animal being unique, too. So, it’s important that your pets are assessed to make sure that the foster home is a safe environment for everyone involved.
Your Assessing Social Worker will visit your home frequently during your assessment and will likely be in contact with your pets quite often. A pet assessment is needed so we can make sure any animals you have can handle a change like a new person in your home. Your social worker will get to know things like their temperament, whether they’re trained and how they react to strangers in their home.
All of your pets, in or outside of the home will need their own pet assessment, (yes even the goldfish in the pond)! Your social worker will take you through what kind of information is needed. This will be things like if their inoculations are up to date, where the animal sleeps, whether the pet has had much contact with young children and questions like this.
Foster children and family pets
Animals can make fantastic companions for children, especially children and young people who have suffered trauma. Being around animals can help children and young people develop strong companionship, affection and even have a therapeutic effect on them.
Some foster children may never have had pets before and may not be used to being around animals. Setting clear boundaries relating to how they should interact with your pet can be a good way to slowly introduce them to their new housemates.
We will always make sure that you as a family and the foster child are a good match. This means we will not be asking you to look after a young person if you have a cat and they are allergic to them- that’s not in anyone’s best interests.
If you have a pet and would like to find out more about our fostering process, please get in touch with us. Our friendly team of professionals will be happy to give you more information.