Age range of Children who are fostered

Children can enter foster care from birth to age 17 (before their 18th birthday). Very young children who enter foster care either return to live with family, or they are likely to be adopted. Also, there isn’t a shortage of foster carers for very young children; so Sparks foster carers are rarely required to care for very young children (and when they are, they are usually part of a sibling group and/or have additional needs).

Sparks Fostering advises foster carers to be open minded about the ages of the children they could care for. Older children aren’t necessarily more challenging to care for than younger children – often the different ages have different needs depending on the level of trauma they have experienced and how they are coping with it. For example, toddlers may have tantrums, soil (spread their faeces on floors/walls) and they may not sleep at night. Whereas teenagers may shout, slam doors, and abscond. Of course, many children in foster care don’t exhibit these challenges and are settled. 

Sparks Fostering always considers the ages and needs of the other children who are in the fostering home (including ‘own’ children and other children looked after) before considering a match with a child looked after. For example, it is very unlikely that a teenage girl would be placed into the home of a family with a boy of a very similar age (or vice versa). Sparks Fostering would also be very careful to risk assess any matches to ensure that children looked after don’t present a risk to the children already in the home (and vice versa).