We’re often asked whether you need a driver’s license to be a foster parent.
While it isn’t compulsory for many fostering agencies, it is often strongly advised. Different agencies often have different policies regarding needing a driving license as a foster carer.
With Compass, there are no specific restrictions around driving licenses when it comes to our approval criteria. This means that, with Compass, not having a UK driving license will not directly hinder you in becoming a foster carer.
However, there are a few things that we will need to take into consideration if you apply to foster with us. These are also a few things for you to consider if you’re thinking about applying to become a foster carer without a license.
Reasons For Not Holding a License
One of the things we would need to take into consideration is your reason for not holding a driving license.
If you don’t hold a driving license simply out of preference, then this is fine. However, if there is another reason that you don’t hold a driving license, then you would need to make us aware of this immediately.
This includes any driving bans, license suspensions or other circumstances that have led to your not being able to own a driving license. While it is possible to foster with a criminal record, some offences may prevent you from fostering, and we would need to consider this during your assessment.
If you are unable to drive, another thing that we would take into consideration is your proximity to public transport.
If you live in an area that requires you to walk significant distances to gain access to public transport, then this may pose a problem. Your local public transport also needs to be able to provide you with easy access in and out of local villages and neighbouring towns and cities.
If this is not possible, we would also ask whether you would be happy to utilise a Taxi service as a last resort – although this is not ideal, as the wellbeing of our children must always be the priority.
Why Do Foster Carers Need Transport?
While it’s not impossible to foster without a driving license, the reality is that it does make things much more difficult for both foster carers and foster children.
This is because there are several meetings and responsibilities involved in the role of a foster carer. These include training, meetings with social workers, contact time with the children’s birth family, medical appointments, support groups or counselling sessions. Our children also need to be transported to school and should be able to access extracurricular activities if necessary.
So, while it may be possible to meet these requirements through use of public transport or Taxi services, being able to drive makes achieving these expectations far easier.
So, Do You Need a Driving License to Foster?
To summarise, while it’s not impossible to foster without a driving license, you must be able to prove to us that you will be able to meet the needs of the foster child and the responsibilities of your role.
The wellbeing of our children is our top priority, so we need to make sure that the standard of care you are able to provide is not impacted by your not driving.
It is always important that you are completely honest throughout your application to foster with us. This includes being transparent about any criminal records you may have, and the reality of your daily transport situation.
If you have more questions about fostering, you can check out our Fostering FAQ’s here.
Alternatively, please get in touch with us for some more information on fostering and the application process.