Do I Need a Spare Room to Foster?

Girl writing in her diary on her bed

In order to become a foster carer, you will need to have a spare bedroom in your home that is for the foster child’s use only (if the child is over three years old).

A spare bedroom is an essential requirement to foster a child and within this blog, we explain what counts as a spare room, why it’s needed for the foster child and the type of room that cannot be used.

What Is a Spare Room?

A spare room is a room within your home that is a separate space with a window and adequate space for a bed and furniture.

What Kind of Room Is Suitable for a Foster Child?

A foster child will need their own room within your home to give them privacy and space to relax and play.

Ideally, the room for the foster child should be on the same floor as the foster carer.

While there is no minimum floor space, a basic bedroom for a foster child should include a closeable door, a window, a good amount of natural light, a bed, a wardrobe/storage, a desk for studying and a source of heating (radiator or wall heater).

What Kind of Room Cannot be Used for a Foster Child?

Some examples of unsuitable bedrooms can include rooms without a window, a room that is frequently used by another person or family member (such as a room of a young adult that is away at university), a room which is used as a through way to another room (such as a room between a living room and a kitchen), and a room that has been freed up by moving siblings into one room.

A converted room, such as an office, loft or dining room, can occasionally be suitable for a foster child, but this is decided on a case-by-case basis.

Children pointing at each other
Girl writing in her diary on her bed

Can Foster Children Share a Bedroom?

Every child over the age of three requires their own bedroom and are not allowed to share with any person or child in placement including birth children.

On occasion, siblings up to the age of ten may be able to share a bedroom, however, this is decided by the Local Authority after closely considering the sibling relationship and whether sharing a room will be comforting for and in the best interest of the children.

How Can I Make My Spare Room Suitable for a Foster Child?

When beginning to decorate a room that is to be used for a fostering placement, the room should first be cleaned thoroughly in preparation for fresh paint, wallpaper, and if needed, new carpet/flooring, curtains or blinds.

A light, neutral colour such as cream would be an ideal paint choice as it will blend with a variety of different styles and decor and can easily be painted over in the future.

Once the child or young person has arrived in placement, you should ask the child what colours and décor they would like in their room, this may include images of favourite films, tv shows or sports teams.

Swiis Foster Care provides all new foster carers with a Welcome Support Payment of £1,000 to make sure you have everything you need to start your first placement. Our Welcome Support Payment could be used to help decorate the spare bedroom or to purchase new furniture.

Will the Fostering Agency Need to Approve the Bedroom?

Yes, as part of the fostering assessment process, the bedroom will need to be checked by the fostering agency to make sure it meets the minimum requirements.

UK Government Fostering Guidelines

Children (over three years old) and young people in foster care need their own space within your home in order to feel comfortable and safe.

The minimum spare bedroom requirement is to ensure the foster child’s safety and well-being and is outlined by the UK government. You can view the UK government’s guidelines on fostering here.

Do You Still Have Questions about Fostering?

Swiis Foster Care has over 20 years of experience and is the UK’s largest family-owned fostering agency.

If you have questions about fostering or are ready to start your journey to becoming a foster carer, please contact our friendly team via the contact form below.

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